15 or so years ago, ‘the cloud’ was considered the next big thing in business and personal technology. No longer did each machine you used need to have files or applications stored on it locally. When you worked on a document in the office, you now didn’t need to email it to yourself so you could work on it from your home PC. If you wanted to do online banking or instant messaging, you no longer had to load the actual applications onto each machine you wanted to use. The possibilities were transformative. Your music could be accessed anywhere from any device. Movies could be rented via download or streaming instead of via using cracked DVDs that skipped, etc.
We first wrote about Ransomware attacks in Tech Essentials in 2017 – back when a Bitcoin was valued at $1800 (oh, the good old days). The crux of the article was that many victims were paying their ransom to the cyber perpetrators, but they did not have an easy way to track and reconcile who paid, and many who did pay the ransom never got the decryption key to unlock their files. Imagine this happening in the analog world with kidnapping cases!
What do Napoleon, Robert Oppenheimer, and Abraham Lincoln have in common (aside from being famous)? Allegedly, they were all horrible multitaskers. In fact, multitasking, or the ability to deal with more than one discrete task at once, is not necessarily something we humans were ever naturals at.
You may recall that our June 2020 Global User Conference was all about optimizing business processes with more digitization. At a time when there was a vast shift to working from home and shifting to electronic delivery of documents and communications, I’d like to think we were at the vanguard of new movement.
As I write this exactly at 10:40 on April 15, I instinctually feel like there’s some important deadline I’m missing, a day where I feel should have already done something. Is it someone’s birthday or an anniversary? Do I need to get an oil change? No, it’s the traditional tax filing deadline in the US.
While this year’s news has been dominated by politics and pandemics, there may have been a universe-shattering discovery made in the world of physics—one that may realign the very way we think about forces of nature. ‘Now this isn’t the usual e-sign, e-security chit chat,’ you may think to yourself. Yes, this week on Tech Essentials, we will be dealing with the nature of the universe itself, so say with me “whoa!” in your best Keanu Reeves voice.
If there’s one thing you should know about me (in addition to being obsessive about e-sign and e-security), it’s that I’m a proud parent. Recently, I was at the dinner table engaging in a lively debate with my daughter about current events, and I was thrilled at how she could piece together a cogent argument. Her logic was impeccable, and her presentation was compelling. However, when I asked her how she knew her facts were true, I got: “because I heard it on YouTube and TikTok!”. Another gem: “I read it on xyz blog.”
We at Tech Essentials had been hoping to have at least a one-week respite from any talk of COVID, and we were sooo close this week…until I saw an article about a British mathematician who calculated that, based on there being two quintillion virus particles with an average diameter of 100 billionth of a meter, all the COVID in the world could easily fit into one (empty) can of soda. That’s right. The source of all the world’s misery over the last 12+ months could all be fit into a common item probably on your home-office desk right now.
A year ago, there was a sudden “shock” to the world that caused mass disruption in people’s normal routines, forcing an uncomfortable behavioral change for most. This pandemic-induced shift to an isolated work-from-home (WFH) routine should become a shibboleth once vaccines flow freely. But perhaps it wont. Over the course of the last year, we’ve all acclimated to our new routines, comfy chairs, lounging in between “meetings”, kids-play at odd hours of the day, work-from-anywhere with a hot-spot connection… not too bad (assuming your profession or business was not too negatively impacted). This acclimation may be the reason why the way we work may have genuinely been transformed — permanently and in ways we’re just beginning to understand. To shift “back” to office parks, we’ll need an equally dramatic and “opposite shock” (i.e. an over-abundance of COVID babies disrupting home workspace, or who knows what.)
2021 may now be well underway. The government is starting to drop more money from helicopters, potentially trillions more upon the trillions already. I am not sure what this means for the Bitcoin crowd (I won’t bore you with my speculation on this unless you ask…). But, we at RPost and Tech Essentials are a hopeful bunch, and as I wrote in an earlier Tech Essentials post, we believe that the decade of the 2020s (the single year 2020 aside) could be unusually prosperous as we recover from the pandemic—keep in mind that the 2020s technically didn’t begin until Jan 1 of this year.