April 22, 2007

Threats of Malicious Codes

I do not think that you discuss IT without at least mentioning viruses and malicious codes that affect computers today. It has become clear that the more advanced IT and computers become the more sophisticated and threatening these malicious codes become. Our class was assigned to read the article “Battling the Bots” by Ken Dunham that talks about malicious codes known as bots. I myself do not have much knowledge regarding viruses and other things that attack computers other than knowing that they are dangerous for computers. The article states that bots are “malicious codes that are like a hybrid threat—a mixture of both worm and Trojan components”.
I will admit that the discussion of viruses and things alike do worry me. We live in a day and age where computers are a part of everyday life in America. We are living in a time where using computers is so common that companies like AOL have the opportunity to connect more 30 million Americans every month through instant messaging. We have phones today that even act as mini computers. I brought this up in my last blog, but I would like to speak further of my concern regarding America’s dependency on computers. Today you can do everything from banking to shopping online. As a result much of our private and important information has now become vulnerable to malicious codes such as bots. It is difficult enough now with our advancement in technology to pinpoint and capture those who initiate these codes. I can only imagine the type of damage that could be made from future viruses or malicious codes once IT has become even more integrated into our lives. It was not comforting to read in this article that these bots could even trick or bypass some anti virus or firewall software that is installed on computers. Every good thing comes at some price. But I am not sure that continuing advancement in computer technology, to a certain extent, will eventually be worth the cost of my privacy.
This article did teach that there are a number of different ways a malicious code can attack a computer. I was under the impression that computers could only be attacked if the creator of a virus targeted a certain computer or passed it on and the virus was passed through a number of computers. In the case of bots the article stated that they are opportunistic and attack any computers that offer the opportunity. These bots simply sit back and wait for an opportunity to attack, just like true experienced warriors in the wake of a battle.

Is Computing Becoming Too Intrusive?

My topic for this blog involves the question of whether computers have become or will become too intrusive in society’s daily life. I was reading the paper written by Mark Weiser and it concerned me quite a bit. It is quite clear that we as a society have become dependent upon computers and even IT. This is evident with two of the biggest and most profitable empires in America (Microsoft and Google) being involved with some type of computer technology. The idea behind the paper “The Computer for the 21st Century” appeared to be that engineers and scientists today are looking for ways to make computing so common that people will not have to use much effort at all when using computers.
While the idea sounds like a good one at first, it makes me wonder if we are losing an appreciation for the more natural and personal things in life. A story was told in the paper as an example of what these scientists hoped our future with computing would be like. The woman that was used in the example did not have to put much effort into doing anything for herself. The idea is to make computing ubiquitous and so much a part of society’s life that we would almost forget that it is being used. The paper used writing as an example of something that we use so much that it somewhat disappears into our lifestyles. Americans start at a young age learning to read and write and for a great majority of us, by our adult years, no effort is put into thinking about reading or writing. However, I feel that if we attempt to make computing comparable to the acts of reading and writing we will soon reach a point in technology that will no longer be more beneficial than damaging to society.
Our society has been made up of our personal traits and imperfections, both of which we as human beings are familiar with. Everyone can remember the scare we all had when we thought Y2K was coming. We thought that we had no control over what would happen to computers at the turn of a new century. I can only imagine the kind of chaos that would ensue if we were to make computing as common as writing in our lives and something went wrong like we expected with Y2K. I would also say that once we make computing ubiquitous we will begin to lose more and more of our privacy. I say this because it happens now when computer hackers can pass viruses or even steal important information like social security numbers from people.

February 26, 2007

Google and Society

A pretty hot topic that has been discussed in a number of my business-related classes lately involves Google’s success over the past years. One of the assignments we were given in our MIDS class was to express our opinions regarding Google, and define Google as being a blessing or evil. From my own personal view I find Google to be a blessing. I will however later discuss one issue that was brought up in our class that did concern me and made me think. Even though Google has been around for nearly a decade and been quite popular for a few years I only recently became a regular user of the search engine.

I used to be a faithful user of the Yahoo search engine, but through word of mouth from friends and other acquaintances I slowly began to investigate and experiment with Google. My initial thoughts were that search engines were all the same and I could not understand why I was constantly hearing about Google. After comparing search results I found with the two search engines I began to notice that Google was returning results of better quality and greater variety. I now use Google for every search I do on the internet. While I understand that this is only my own personal opinion and not everyone will agree, this experience is what has led me to believe that Google is more of a blessing. In addition to it creating an efficient and convenient way of searching the web, on a more economic level it has created jobs and a fun and comfortable working environment for those jobs.

One concern that was brought up in class was that for the time being Google offers its services in search engines and email accounts for free, but Google may eventually realize their importance to a large number of people across the world and try to make an even greater profit. There are a large number of people that use Google’s services on a daily basis and seem unable to function without Google. The question raised was, will Google recognize this and decide to now charge users for search results or to use Google email accounts? I would say this is a definite possibility. As I stated in my last blog, IT has really shaped the way the world works within the past decades. I would say this is somewhat evident with the fact that the richest person in the world is the creator of a computer technology corporation. Google has been able to find a very devoted customer base that is slowly becoming more and more dependent upon their services. They have even been able to break through the boundaries of privacy concerning their email accounts. Gmail searches through your emails to find a way to advertise something to you. This allows them to profit even more from advertisements. So if they are willing to begin looking through emails to make a larger profit then what is stopping them from taking the next step and charging for all of their services?

February 13, 2007

ERP in Society

My topic for today involves the discussion of ERP, Enterprise Resource Planning Software. ERP is a part of Information Technology and has had both a positive and negative affect on business culture in America. The theme of my blogs involves the impact of IT as a whole on American culture and I plan to simply discuss different branches or parts of Information Technology and their effects on culture. I see IT as being an essential part of life for most people today, and I think it is important to look into the ways that it has affected society as a whole.
My initial impression of ERP was that the software could only benefit companies and their productivity. The software enables companies to eliminate a number of time consuming tasks between departments within the company. It appears as though business culture has changed somewhat to being mainly focused on efficiency. I would say that this is a main reason why IT has become so essential in businesses today. One of the main drawbacks to implementing ERP in a company is that not everyone is open to change. Some employees that have been working at these companies implementing this software have been working there for many years and have developed a certain way of completing tasks. I would say that I have noticed one of the major impacts of ERP on business culture is that the focus seems to have strayed from the morale of employees. Even though ERP has been said to save time and eliminate some inventory costs, our discussion in class led me to believe that not many of the people working in these companies are open to the changes. Implementing the ERP software will in the need for training of employees and changing the routine of employees. If done in the right manner this could lead to success, but in many cases not everyone is open to making such a drastic change.