Big Brother vs Apple? Security vs Privacy?

I find the controversy involving the FBI seeking access to the I-phone rather disturbing. It’s not a simple premise of “security versus privacy,” as Wired magazine points out.

And I find this quote from Reuters to put things in perspective.

Most technology security experts, including many who have served in government, have said technical efforts to provide government access to encrypted devices inevitably degrades security for everyone. It is an argument that has been made since the 1990s, when the government tried and failed to force tech companies to incorporate a special chip into their products for surveillance purposes.

Tim Cook and Apple states in their letter to customers, “The FBI is proposing an unprecedented use of the All Writs Act of 1789 to justify an expansion of its authority.” Nothing like an from 200+ years ago to use in the high-tech world of 2016.

In any case, we should all read and listen to the issues and possible outcomes from this situation. It could affect our privacy for years to come.


Thinking responsively: responsive web design that is

Responsive web design - Strategic Compliance, Inc.

Responsive web design adjusts elegantly to fit on desktop, tablet and smartphone browsers

Responsive Web Design

This year I’ve built new websites for clients on responsive design platforms. Mobile responsive design has been talked about for a few years, but I think it’s really become a must in the last couple of years. And it’s much easier to accomplish today with responsive design platforms, like most of the StudioPress WordPress themes.

If responsive web design is a somewhat unfamiliar, no worries. Responsive web design is a website design that adjusts elegantly to fit on desktop, tablet and smartphone browsers. No longer will people get essentially the same website view as a desktop – only scrunched to fit the smaller space. Instead, the responsive technology adjusts the website content to  the particular device. Searchers and visitors can easily see and navigate the available content.

Strategic Compliance, Inc.

The website displayed here is for Strategic Compliance, Inc., a “boutique, human resources consultancy offering critical wage and hour compliance solutions. Owner Alfonso Zarate created the business to leverage his past experience as a Department of Labor, Wage and Hour Department (WHD) investigator. He seeks to bridge the gap between legal compliance issues and everyday human resource issues, and help employers better relate to employees from different cultures or who speak different languages.

Alfonso’s experience as a WHD Investigator helps his clients defend themselves against WHD investigations, saving them time, money and headaches. He is proficient in reading, writing and speaking to/from English/Spanish. During his time as a WHD Investigator, Alfonso received the prestigious Secretary of Labor Exceptional Achievement Award on three occasions.

Lofstrom + Company professionals developed the firm’s branding, including the logo and tagline, and built the website content and design from the ground up. We chose the “Executive Pro” theme from StudioPress, which allowed us to have mobile responsive design with very few alterations to underlying code.


Digital Sandbox to Support Tech Company Startups

Digital Sandbox Kansas City image

Digital Sandbox Kansas City will support IT entrepreneurs in Greater Kansas City area

I was invited to the official announcement of Digital Sandbox KC, an unprecedented partnership among private companies, universities and government agencies to spur development of local IT-related start-up businesses. Maria Meyers, director of the UMKC Innovation Center and the driving force behind the Sandbox concept, announced the 15-member Advisory Board to Digital Sandbox KC. The event was held at the historic Union Station of Kansas City and the meeting room overflowed with people, all wondering just the Digital Sandbox would mean for our community and them personally.

According to the multitude of speakers, “Entrepreneurs will have the opportunity to brainstorm and problem-solve with top people from the private sector corporate partners to find marketable applications for new discoveries, as well as ‘orphan technologies’ from both corporate- and university-based development labs.

Maria Meyers of UMKC Innovation Center image

Maria Meyers, of UMKC Innovation Center, addresses the “Digital Sandbox” crowd

In terms of eligibility, all ideas related to IT are welcome; but the Sandbox will have four key focus areas:

  • Data center and cloud operations,
  • Big data and data analytics,
  • Mobile applications, and
  • Data security.

It’s an exciting announcement, let’s hope it lives up to its promise!


Google Fiber Puts Kansas City on the Fiber Map

I attended the initial Google Fiber launch event in my hometown, Kansas City, Missouri,

Google 3 dimensional visual

Google's imagination 3-dimensional data highway uses automobile traffic to compare current Internet broadband speeds to Google Fiber, which is 100 times faster. Gary Lofstrom, online marketing communications professional, admires Google Internet data model.

held on July 26, 2012. It was quite an event, with seemingly every issue covered, from having ample parking with shuttle buses, Google emblazoned umbrellas in case of rain, soft drinks and chairs for guests waiting for the doors to open. Oh yeah, Google Fiber means participants can have Internet access that is approximately 100 times faster than the current high-speed, broadband access. Yes, 100 times faster, and Google had numerous visuals to help attendees understand how fast that is.

Google promises us endless possibilities. Kevin Lo, general manager of Google Access, also introduced Google Fiber Television, a new cablelike video service. Customers will use a set-top box like a DVR that can record eight shows at once, store 500 hours of HD programming, and acts as a Wi-Fi router.

Kevin Lo, general manager of Google Access photo

Kevin Lo, general manager of Google Access, presents Google Fiber to an Internet knowledgeable crowd

Prices are $120 per month for the total package, Google Fiber Television, $70 per month just Fiber Internet and there’s even a way to get fiber connected and pay no monthly fee for current average speed broadband (about 5 MBs). For the latter, Google does charge $300 for installation and promises to deliver the slower Internet access for seven years.


WordCamp Kansas City 2012

WordPress is a great content management system for financial service companies, professional service organizations, small businesses and nonprofits, and I attended WordCamp KC to learn more about it.

I attended the June 1-3 WordCamp Kansas City and it was very helpful. We had some of the

WordPress' WordCamp Kansas City panel discusses security, plugins and more

most notable and well-known users in the WordPress community, including developers, designers, and publishers. There were 3 tracks: designer, developer and publisher. I skipped around a bit as I’m a “wanna be designer,” in a writer’s body. And I am one of those people who wants to know what makes things tick, so development interests up to the point they start talking in-depth about coding (yawn!). Anyway a shout out to those who put it together, the great venue (Office Port) in Crossroads area of downtown Kansas City and a solid learning event.


Social technologies are extending the organization

McKinsey’s fifth annual survey of 4,200 global executives indicates that social tools and technologies (i.e., social media) are continuing to seep into many organizations, transforming business processes and raising performance. Findings include:

  • Organizations are improving their mastery of social technologies.
  • Organizations using social technologies to enhance operations and exploit new market opportunities.
  • Social technologies can boost a company’s financial performance and market share.

McKinsey professionals note that social technology in organizations is very dynamic, where the gains from using social technologies sometimes do not persist, perhaps because it takes so much effort to achieve them at scale.

Some companies reaped fewer benefits and thus became less networked, while a smaller percentage learned how to deploy these technologies to become even more networked. Executives say that their companies are using them to increase their agility and to manage organizational complexity. Many believe that if organizational barriers to the use of social technologies diminish, they could form the core of entirely new business processes that may radically improve performance.

My take

McKinsey’s scholarly survey further proves what many of us that are championing social media, social technology and online communications see every day. Social media is growing exponentially in its use and importance, whether it’s for internal communications, customer relations, inbound marketing or a myriad of other innovative applications.

Read or download the entire report at McKinsey Quarterly.