Return on Technology columnist

Altom is a third-generation Hoosier who has been a zookeeper, electronics technician, technical writer, small-business manager, information architect, author, analyst and consultant. He has written on subjects as diverse as the appeal of big words and usability as a risk/benefit analysis. He has both an undergraduate and a master's degree from IUPUI, the latter in human-computer interaction, and has a green belt in Six Sigma. Altom teaches human-computer interaction and statistics for IUPUI. He is not a first adopter, but might eventually condescend to employ new technologies in his everyday business life, although he’s likely to remain happily grumpy about it.

E-mail: taltom@ibj.com

Follow Tim on Twitter: www.twitter.com/taltom


Recent Articles

ALTOM: I’ve enjoyed sharing what I know—and hearing from you

February 15, 2014
With technology--as with technology writers--nothing lasts forever.

ALTOM: Don’t expect Amazon’s drones anytime soon

January 18, 2014
The retail giant's futuristic delivery plan has some monumental obstacles to overcome.

ALTOM: Obamacare not only spectacular tech failure of 2013

December 14, 2013
This year, as usual, there were plenty of memorable, human-inspired technology horrors.

ALTOM: The data says: Driving deserves your full attention

November 30, 2013
Even talking on the phone while behind the wheel is a potentially dangerous use of your time.

ALTOM: Airplane device change is small—just like seats

November 16, 2013
The loosening of restrictions on electronic devices on planes is of little consequence.

ALTOM: Google makes its analytics tracker less useful

November 2, 2013
Search giant takes away something business owners have come to rely on.

Economy rife with high-tech hustlers

October 5, 2013
Portability, versatility lead more people to work outside the security of a corporate office.

ALTOM: WiFi vs. Ethernet pits reliability, convenience

September 21, 2013
Neither method of Web access comes without some trade-offs; consider which ones you can live with.

ALTOM: Cost dictates whether cloud is right for your business

September 7, 2013
Sometimes it's more efficient to have on-premises software to serve your company's needs.

ALTOM: Outfit your home office for maximum productivity

August 24, 2013
For many people, the complexities of working at home mean they need more than a desk and printer.

ALTOM: Invasion of privacy is both positive and avoidable

August 10, 2013
Take advantage of being watched, or put away your smart phone and pay with cash.

ALTOM: Relax, your cell phone isn’t out to get you

July 27, 2013
Don't believe the stories of danger and destruction. Cell phones in America aren't likely to explode in your ear.

Multitasking, if it exists, is not productive

July 13, 2013
The truth is you can really only do one thing at a time effectively, but sometimes multiple technologies can be focused on a single task.

ALTOM: Don’t overlook these simple but important tech tools

June 29, 2013
You need some old-school devices to keep your tech equipment humming.

ALTOM: Safeguarding data isn't a perfect process

June 15, 2013
The risk of a breach is inherent in almost any security approach, but there are steps you can take to diminish risk.

ALTOM: Get rid of hidden stuff in the Microsoft suite

June 1, 2013
The documents you share might harbor information you don't want the recipients to see.

ALTOM: When it comes to big purchases, don’t follow the crowd

May 18, 2013
The most popular tech product isn't necessarily the one that is best for your business.

ALTOM: The closing words in most emails aren't worth the trouble

May 4, 2013
Electronic communication isn't the same as a hand-written letter, so traditional sign-offs don't usually work.

ALTOM: CIOs are hard to find, so mentor promising candidates

April 6, 2013
A CIO has to blend business and technical skills in ways that aren’t taught to technicians.

ALTOM: Google disregards consequences, kills another product

March 23, 2013
Years ago, the high-tech company that drove me closest to the edge of madness was Microsoft. That firm treated its customers as if they were lucky to have computers. But for sheer frustration, I think Google tops Microsoft.

ALTOM: Hire a chief information officer before it's too late

March 9, 2013
The position is meant to be more than a glorified tech support desk. It should be the office where infrastructure growth is planned and merged with the company’s overall goals.

ALTOM: How safe is your storage on the cloud? Not very

February 23, 2013
The cloud is what we call the storage areas we never see except in our browsers—that online, cyberspace world that holds our files and often our working applications.

ALTOM: Technology takes (some) jobs but also creates them

February 9, 2013
In the aftermath of the Great Recession, the economy continues to grow, but it’s becoming obvious that unemployment isn’t going to nosedive the way it has after previous recessions.
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  1. So much for Eric Holder's conversation about race. If white people have got something to say, they get sued over it. Bottom line: white people have un-freer speech than others as a consequence of the misnamed "Civil rights laws."

  2. I agree, having seen three shows, that I was less than wowed. Disappointing!!

  3. Start drilling, start fracking, and start using our own energy. Other states have enriched their citizens and nearly elminated unemployment by using these resources that are on private land. If you are against the 'low prices' of discount stores, the best way to allow shoppers more choice is to empower them with better earnings. NOT through manipulated gov mandated min wage hikes, but better jobs and higher competitive pay. This would be direct result of using our own energy resources, yet Obama knows that Americans who arent dependent of gov welfare are much less likely to vote Dem, so he looks for ways to ensure America's decline and keep its citizens dependent of gov.

  4. Say It Loud, I'm Black and Ashamed: It's too bad that with certain "black" entertainment events, it seems violence and thuggery follows and the collateral damage that it leaves behinds continues to be a strain on the city in terms of people getting hurt, killed or becoming victims of crimes and/or stretching city resources. I remember shopping in the Meadows area years ago until violence and crime ended make most of the business pack you and leave as did with Lafayette Square and Washington Square. Over the past 10 to 12 years, I remember going to the Indiana Black Expo Soul Picnic in Washington Park. Violence, gang fights and homicides ended that. My great grandmother still bears the scares on her leg from when she was trampled by a group of thugs running from gun fire from a rival gang. With hundreds of police offices downtown still multiple shootings, people getting shot downtown during Black Expo. A number of people getting shots or murdered at black clubs around the city like Club Six on the west side, The Industry downtown, Jamal Tinsley's shot out in front of the Conrad, multiple fights and shootings at the skating rinks, shootings at Circle Center Mall and shooting and robberies and car jackings at Lafayette Mall. Shootings and gang violence and the State Fair. I can go on and on and on. Now Broad Ripple. (Shaking head side to side) Say It Loud, I'm Black and I'm Ashamed.

  5. Ballard Administration. Too funny. This is the least fiscally responsive administration I have ever seen. One thing this article failed to mention, is that the Hoosier State line delivers rail cars to the Amtrak Beech Grove maintenance facility for refurbishment. That's an economic development issue. And the jobs there are high-paying. That alone is worth the City's investment.