Interviews – Will IT Be More or Less Fun in 10 Years?

Question: “Do you expect that IT work in 10 years from now, will be more fun or less fun than it is today, and why?”

Mark Aldridge

I think that it will be more fun as there will so much more technology to learn in 10 years time and so many amazing features in ConfigMgr 2706!

DareDevelOPs

I think it will be more fun as open source projects become more the norm. Also as Infrastructure as Code becomes all things as code (ATaC?), the challenge level is going to go up. We will be more focused on solving the problem than running the infrastructure. Also the kinds of industries will change from country to country as the Human Development Index shifts and Nation State ranking changes. The level of Virtualization in all areas life will continue down Moore’s law critical path, even as the compute hardware reaches Moore’s limit. te things we IT will get shinier. …or Skynet.

Stephen Owen

More fun! IT has only gotten more interesting and varied, with the introduction of mobile devices and tons of new form factors. I think in ten years we all will finally know what we’re doing with Windows updates, and probably have a better handle on security practices.

I think the Wild West days of IT are behind us, and I for one am happy about it. My phone definitely rings less on weekend now than it did five years ago.

Damien Van Robaeys

When I see all available technologies, I can imagine that, in 10 years, the working environment will also change.
This will be the time of mixed reality, even if Minority report won’t be for now.
I hope we will work with Holographic computers, like the Hololens.

Maybe computers, like laptop or desktop, if they still exist, will use an holographic screen and holographic keyboards.
Imagine your computer, in a small box that will display a screen above, and a keyboard on your desk.

Meetings would be done with holographic system, like in Star Wars , with a system that will allow you to say Hey call Mr X, and Mr X will appear in front of you in hologram, like Obi Wan Kenobi.

Rob Spitzer

Fun is such a relative thing. I’ve met DBAs that are super passionate about their jobs yet I can’t imagine how that could be any fun. Conversely I’ve been asked on multiple occasions how I deal with Exchange every day. It’s just something I found that I enjoy doing.

There’s no doubt IT is changing. We’ve seen this happen before. We rarely build hardware anymore and now we’re seeing things like software installation and configuration go away as we move more to the cloud. I’ve seen Exchange change a lot over the last 20 years but, at its heart, it’s still the same thing I’ve enjoyed all along, even in the cloud.

You just need to make sure you find a role that you’re passionate about. If you have a hard time putting down at the end of the day, odds are you found it.

Ami Casto

IT, fun? What? IT has been and will always be what you make of it. 10 years from now you’ll still be fixing some idiot policy you didn’t create but have to clean up the mess now that the poo has hit the fan. You’ll just have to keep looking for the things that make you passionate about what you do.

Arnie Tomasovsky

I expect it to be less fun, as thanks to AI, everything will be a lot more automated. BUT human being will remain as the end user, therefore fun won’t disappear 🙂

Johan Arwidmark

I expect it to be more fun, and more complex. Why? Hopefully less politics, and more ongoing maintenance/upgrades, and more automation.

Nicke Kallen

There are two directions that this can go in… either we aim for a specialized knowledge set where employees will continue tinkering as they do today. The number will not be as many as we have today, but larger corporations will still depend on this knowledge and for the people that have actively developed this skillset – it’s a lot more fun.

The other option is that we are somewhere down the journey to be completely commoditized. Perhaps a few service providers have staff, but apart from that we define business requirements and ensure the logistics part of delivering IT works. Its most likely not the cup of tea for today’s it workers…

Mike Terrill

I think IT will be even more fun 10 years from now. The reason for this is because our field is growing at a rapid pace and will continue to do so over the next 10 years. Just imagine some of the gadgets we will have in the future and how much AI will have progressed.

Rod Trent

A: <Beavis and Butthead mode on…> Hehe…you said work in IT is fun </Beavis and Butthead mode off>

Chris DeCarlo

So I’m sure everyone you asked this question will say “More fun…” So I’ll play devil’s advocate here and say less fun. AI is already making decent strides, and with the great progress of robots and VR already I envision AI being fully integrated into robotics in the next 10 years. These AI enhanced robots will take over our call centers and end user support roles with 24×7 support and no need for breaks or health care. From there AI will be integrated into the Windows OS and automatically Google( or I mean Bing) and fix any errors that appear on your server/sccm software leaving us “organ sacks” or “blood bags” with basic tasks such as lubricating the robots joints, and polishing the robots shiny metal ….

Skatterbrainz

More fun for some.  Less fun for others.  More work for software folks, less work for hardware folks.  In all, I think there will be some serious reduction in IT staffing for many data center roles, as those things morph into “Software-Defined <x>” while evaporating into the cloud.  Then again, it’s not inconceivable that some unforeseen events could trigger a massive reversion from cloud back to on-prem.  Government intrusion, for one, might have that sort of impact.

Interviews – Undervalued Internet

Q. What aspect of the Internet do you feel is undervalued and under-used by most people?

Jon Szewczak

The ability to stream video and audio over thousands of miles so that personal communication can be made easier. So many people avoid face to face, and so the ability to video call is hardly ever taken advantage of by the mainstream population.

Stephen Owen

Interactivity with authors and developers. People who write or those who produce code for a living share their work for free on GitHub or elsewhere, and they more often than not have contact forms. Use them! I’ve gotten so much help over my career by asking people politely, and being appreciative of their hard work.

Julie Andreacola

Undervalued – YouTube how to videos, we have saved thousands of dollars by watching how to do something (like remodel a kitchen, wire a switch, etc) How did we survive before YouTube?

Johan Arwidmark

Twitter 🙂

DaredevelOps

Common Sense

Rob Spitzer

This is probably not so much “under-used” as it lost “lost” but I really miss the openness of the original Internet. While many modern things like social networks, IM, etc. are great, I hate the fact that they are walled gardens.

Chris DeCarlo

IPv6. That’s hands down the most undervalued and under-used by near everyone in relation to the internet.

Rod Trent

I think the most undervalued and under-used aspect of the Internet is the second and third mouse click. There’s an enormous amount of information on the Internet and the majority of it is bunk. If people would just click a few more times instead of believing (and sharing) the first piece of information they are presented, our society would be so much better off. I mean how lazy have we become when reading just one more piece of contrasting information to get the full picture is too much work?

Ami Casto

Trying to think of a good way to say fact checking or brain using section. As opposed to the easy access and often paid to be placed content.  Yeah I think that’s my final answer. Stop using the internet to find the answer you want and use it to find the actual answer.

Nicke Kallen

I used to think blogs, but twitter is the exchange. For some reason – its the way to have a genuine conversation. Unfortunately, its also a method to have negative conversations and therefore people sometimes miss the valuable talks.

Arnie Tomasosvky

Interesting question. The more I think about it the more I come to the conclusion that the answer in my case would be “(proper) searching for information”. I am older than the modern Internet and I was lucky to experience it since its infancy (dial up modems :D). I can say, almost everyone was using it for either communication or hunting for information.

Due to becoming mainstream and available, young generation uses it only for shallow things or few lines info that come and go. If you ask a younger generation a question, you might get an answer like “I dunno, Google it”. As I grew up with Google search operators, finding a proper info can be fairly easy. I do know a few things in general and remember them, so I do not need to google every single thing. But can it be said the same about other/younger generation on the internet? Hardly. Internet offers many options and possibilities, yet it is generally reduced to cats, meal pics, selfies and trash talk… So sad.

Skatterbrainz

LMGTFY

10 Questions – Chad

sir_shower_cat

Chad, 52, hails from Antarctica, where he was raised by a family of mountain climbing circus performers.  Leaving at the age of 12, to attend college at the University of Helsinki in Botswana, somewhere near Louisiana.  A master of the pan flute and nuclear physics, he is also fluent in 24 languages, including Aramaic and Brooklyn.  Retired from the porn industry, he now spends his time repairing light bulbs, perfecting his taxidermy, and training squirrels to defuse explosives.  None of that was true, except for his first name.

1. New York or Chicago style pizza?

I think that this was more important in years past, but today, the list of pizza styles has officially narrowed down to these:

  • Papa John’s
  • Dominos
  • Little Caesar’s
  • Best coupon deal in the mail right now
  • Who will drive into my neighborhood without fear of being shot
  • Whatever someone else already bought, and left unattended

Personally, I like them all, as long as they’re cooked right.

2. Mayo on fries; delicious or a crime against humanity?

This depends on locality.  Location, location, location.  It dictates whether you smooch or eat a dog, and whether you pet or eat a cow.  As Confucius once never said, “Fish in bowl is pet. Fish out of bowl is dinner”.  So, mayo on fries in Amsterdam is likely as normal as eating deep-fried hog testicles in Alabama.  With Kansas City style barbecue sauce of course.

3. What does the end of Birdman mean?

I haven’t seen it yet.  I’m still trying to figure out Memento, or why I bothered watching it, and why we haven’t seen a sequel to Super Troopers hit the theaters yet.  Or why hasn’t Hollywood rehashed other movies with effortless tweaks, like Apocalypse Now done with a Desert Storm backdrop, starring Leonardo DeCaprio and some boy-band lead singer?  They could get Whoopie Goldberg to play Col. Kurtz.  But anyhow, I promise I’ll try to watch Birdman soon and give you a really misinformed answer.

4. Can one ACTUALLY simply fly into Mordor?

I haven’t tried yet.  They may impose blackout dates on their rewards points.

5. Are the Articles of Confederation a legit 2ndary source for law?

That might depend on who we’re talking about.  For the SCOTUS, I’d say it weighs heavily for some cases.  For Congress/Senate, only when it makes them look smarter on a talk show interview.  POTUS, maybe when making a press statement.  FLOTUS/FMOTUS (someday), maybe when speaking to a group for a photo-op.  For most Americans, the answer to “what is a secondary source for law?” you’d probably get response like “Google” or “Is this Jeopardy?”.

6. Udon or Soba noodles?

Soba for me, but then again, I thought Udon was a planet from Star Wars.

7. Is a cucumber properly classified as a “raw pickle?”

I’d have to say: yes! Sort of like…

  • Pre-deceased human
  • Pre-corrupted politician
  • Un-crashed server

8. US president most likely to beat you up?

Living or dead?  Only living: There’s this list, but I don’t agree with it.  I’d say Trump.  Not because he could out-punch or out-kick me, but if he fell on me, it might cause an aneurysm.  All presidents, living or dead: Harrison Ford.

9. Rights; natural or state-granted?

That depends on what “rights” we’re referring to.  There are also different scopes and levels of “rights” such as local, state, federal, war zone, construction site, jail cell, and WalMart on black Friday.

It’s difficult to point at any human-related “right” as “natural” without there being at least *some* possibility of a state-related constraint, even the right to eat or breathe (think life support tube-feeding, and interrogation techniques, as extreme examples).  Some are tweaked more than denied, such as laws pertaining to marriage, drinking, owning and carrying guns, configurations of vehicles and aircraft, voting, sexual relations, gambling, and watching The View (I had to include that, because, as soon as I’m elected president, that show will be replaced by a new show called “this is how we make the meat you buy at the drive-thru”)

I’m no legal expert, but I often play one at parties when no real legal folks are in the room, but aside from that, I would say that “rights” are both objective and subjective.

Individually, we may project certain views as being ubiquitously universal and innate.  This could be termed subjectively-objective dogmatic, or simply: delusional.  And then, depending upon the circumstances (e.g. room of people around you), deemed either empirical, or laughable, or even punishable.

As a collective, at whatever layer of society we choose, we may canonize certain views as being ubiquitously universal, making them “laws”, at least to the extent of the borders of some geophysical or demographic jurisdiction.  I realize that a “right” and a “law” are not the same thing, but are often confused.  Regardless, this concept could be termed objectively-subjective, but I probably made all that shit up.

Putting on my non-legal paper hat, I’d suppose that a “right” may be effectively only subjective.  But with enough sympathetic subjectivity, you can achieve objectivity to some extent.  But I probably made that shit up too.  What the hell.  Rights may also be contextual with regards to relative social norms, historical disposition (era), and how much coffee the advocate has consumed.

10. Why is Italian transit never on time? Is it because of their post WW II aversion to trains being on time?

If I’m ever lucky enough to travel to Italy, and wait for a train to arrive, I will probably forget all about this question.

And Now for a Word About Statistics

“Figures don’t lie, but liars often figure.” – Carol D. Wright

peimei

As a testament to how twisted my brain is, I LOVED statistics courses in college. I still do.  I had a 4.0 average (as I recall anyway), and immediately began applying it to everything around me.  Yes.  I’m that messed up.

So, why bring this up now?  Because statistical references play into everything around us.  From politics, to marketing, to work, to budgeting, to well, everything.  In this instance, because so many tech vendors use statistical claims to bolster their marketing charms, I decided to call them out.

Case 1 = “Fastest Growing ____!” claims

When someone says “such-and-such is the fastest growing __ on the planet!” what does that really mean?  Here’s what it means:

Divide the delta (value that denotes the change from state 1 to state 2 for the given time period) by the total number of state 1.  For example, going from 500 to 800 denotes a 62.5% change.  The rate aspect relates to the time period.  For example, if you said you were traveling at 80 MPH, but left off the H (hour) it wouldn’t mean very much.

In the same realm as velocity, a “fastest” claim denotes a velocity.  It implies “rate of change” or “relative change over a given time period”.

So, by itself, without a quantifier, it means very little.  In fact, it’s very often intentionally misleading.  That’s right.  Liars figure.

If a vendor says “Our product is the fastest growing on the market today!“, ask what the total counts (before/after) are.  If their product went from 1 license sold, to 2, that’s a 100% increase.  If their competition went from 100,000 to 150,000, that’s only a pitiful 66% increase.  Obviously their product is better than that pathetic 150,000-seat competitor, right?

Case 2 = Margin of Error

Another area that seems to get little attention (okay, zero attention) is the margin of error.  Often shortened to just “margin” or “MOE”.  This is the score that denotes uncertainty in the findings.  Put another way, the MOE denotes how far “off” the numbers can be, without violating the overall result.

This matters when the comparison between two or more items differs by less than the MOE.  In that case, it means the comparison is a wash.  That’s right.  The difference is so little that it should be considered meaningless (unless you’re aiming to prove indifferentiation).

For example: “Product A is favored by 52 to 48 over Product B” and MOE is 6.  That means it could be anywhere withing each being 6 units/votes/people/etc. higher or lower than the numbers stated. Pay attention to this when you see news or marketing (okay, typically the same thing) pitching something at you.

And now you know.

PS. Statistically, this article could be off by as much as 50% (MOE) 🙂

Web UI for ConfigMgr 1511

If you’ve read my blog, you might be aware of the Web UI project I’ve kicked around for several years (since 2010 or 2011, at least).  The actual name of it (so far) is CMWT, or Configuration Manager Web Tools. Its beginnings date back to 2007 with a project called WWA or Windows Web Admin, which was focused more on AD management through a browser (which is far easier than ConfigMgr, by the way).

Anyhow, I’m posting this because I’m at a fork in the road. I need to decide whether it’s worth continuing or dumping and moving on. I’m going to base this decision on whatever feedback this post receives. So, here goes.

Note: if the inline frame doesn’t work, the video is on YouTube at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DKW9mgeXxBs

Technical Details:

  • ASP, XHTML, JavaScript, ADO, WBEM, ADSI/LDAP
  • Works with ConfigMgr 2012, 2012R2, and 1511
  • Tested on Windows Server 2012, 2012 R2
  • Tested with IE 11, Edge, Chrome 47+ (some client tools require IE)
  • Tested in primary sites with up to 5,000 clients (should scale higher without a problem)

Statistically Statistical Statisticians

Say that ten times, as fast as you can, regardless of where you are standing right now.  Not only will be tough, someone will call security to have you removed.  Imagine the story you’ll have to share afterwards.  That one was on me.  You’re welcome.

crazy_crash_30

Okay.  SO, there’s a point to the Dr. Seuss-ish headline actually.

Back in college, I came within 5 millimeters of switching my major from CS/IS to Math/Statistics.  That’s the distance between the checkboxes on the old paper forms we used for enrollments.  It was probably for the best that I didn’t, but I was deeply in love with statistics and data modeling.  For me, it felt like the scene where Neo stares at the falling numbers and tilts his head, signaling he finally saw the patterns that represented the virtual world around him.  Okay, not quite that dramatic, and I can’t pass for Keanu on my best day.

If you read the “causation” page on Wikipedia, you’ll get a taste for what pulled me closer to statistical analysis.

However, two very important aspects about statistics that every human should learn and apply every single day are:

Why?

Because you’re being brainwashed every minute of every day by the media, the news and marketing.  If you understand these two concepts, you’ll almost immediately see what I’m talking about.

Case 1

News reports that a major survey was completed and it shows 52% of participants are <fill in the blank>, while 48% are not <fill in the blank>.

At the bottom of the screen, in the tiniest print, it shows “Margin” or “Margin of Error” or “MOE”, etc. as 8%.  That basically means the results could be “off” by 8 percentage points in either direction.  That alone isn’t enough to invalidate the results, but without the Standard Deviation curve, and more detail about the sampling methods, it boils down to an arbitrary story.

Even more common these days, are statistics without any mention of the margin of error.  So we have no idea how accurate the numbers are.  (NOTE: Some of you have raised the 800 lb gorilla in the room, which is that we don’t even know if a study was really even performed.  The entire claim could be false.  Which leads into my “dolphin safe” mention, further down)

Case 2

More red cars get pulled over by police for speeding than cars of other colors.

Questions that have to be validated before this claim can be believed:

  1. Do more aggressive lead-foot drivers prefer red cars?
  2. Do more red cars exist in the areas where the sampling was performed?  Is it tougher to find other color cars in the areas where sampling was done?
  3. Do police write more tickets for red cars, but issue warnings for others instead?
  4. Is the proportion of red cars higher than red colored trucks, motorcycles, carts, buses and so on?
  5. Are other demographics involved?  Such as age, sex, gender, nationality, personality type, economic status.  Would a deeper study reveal it’s really about boys between 18-22 who prefer faster, red cars and happen to be on the road more often?

Item #1 is the most-often cited example.  However, item #4 is valid as well.  What if more red cars are ticketed, but green trucks are ticketed even more than red cars?  Does that still mean “red” is the key differentiator, or is it part of an aggregate condition?

You can obviously disprove or exclude any or all of these possible criteria from the causal analysis.  But the bigger question then is: did anyone do that?

The point I’m trying to make, is to be careful whenever you see or hear claims that something leads to something else.

I often joke about this dilemma as being the ‘dolphin safe’ scenario.  Back in the 1980’s, there was a huge campaign to force tuna and salmon product vendors to guarantee their suppliers were adopting methods to prevent the accidental netting and killing of dolphins.  In short time, the vendors (no names, but you know who they are) began stamping “Dolphin safe!” labels on all their fish products.

The public quieted down and moved on to the next social outrage du jour.  But without having a big enough boat to venture out hundreds of miles into fishing areas, there was little the average person could do to challenge the validity of those labels.  I can recall many times when I’d joke someone eating tuna, “how do you know?”.  And their response would often be, “because it says it on the can!  They wouldn’t lie about that.”

Sure they wouldn’t.

One of my teachers once said something like “Statistics are being twisted into becoming the parsley on the plate of dogma.”  Just think about reading the labels before you eat it.

Poll Time – What Should I Blog About?

So, it’s time once again to ask for your input on what you want me to blabber about.  Or you can tell me to shut up.  I respect all votes, and they’re all anonymous, so don’t worry about me hunting anyone down to egg their house or anything. I can’t afford to throw eggs anyway.  Have you seen the price of eggs these days?!mine_detector