Return on Technology

ALTOM: Being present at work doesn't have to mean being thereRestricted Content

January 12, 2013
Tim Altom
Employers have to contend with a new generation of workers who expect to work from home at least part of the time, and entirely from home when feasible.
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ALTOM: Just because it's new doesn't make it worth buyingRestricted Content

December 29, 2012
Tim Altom
If you’re one of those businessfolk who buy new gadgets just because you can, you might want to move on to the food reviews now. I’m going to be talking today about when to upgrade devices or software.
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ALTOM: Blessed are the tech-sector risk-takers who make the leapRestricted Content

December 15, 2012
Tim Altom
This is the last column before Christmas, and in keeping with long tradition, I’m writing a year-end column about screw-ups and techno-pratfalls that should make you glad you’re not in the hottest of hot seats.
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ALTOM: Passwords are passe, but there's no good alternativeRestricted Content

December 1, 2012
Tim Altom
Even the most supposedly secure password is toast from the time you first use it, because today’s hackers have a veritable arsenal of ways to get through or around any password scheme.
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ALTOM: It's easy to fill gaps in business knowledge onlineRestricted Content

November 17, 2012
Tim Altom
The online world is blossoming with education, both good and questionable. It was one of the first uses for the Web. The Web brought technical people together to share information, and often it was in the form of a tutorial to answer the question, “How do I get this to do that?”
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ALTOM: Whether you're a Mac or PC person says a lot about youRestricted Content

November 3, 2012
Tim Altom
Today, the two worlds cross over almost effortlessly, but the divisions between them have spawned entirely different design and usage paradigms.
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ALTOM: 'Mechanical Turk' puts humans to workRestricted Content

October 20, 2012
Tim Altom
Most repetitive tasks can be done by computer nowadays, but many can’t.
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ALTOM: Excel can be used as database in a pinchRestricted Content

October 6, 2012
Tim Altom
Microsoft Excel has features that are reminiscent of a database, although it’s not a database application and never will be.
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ALTOM: Who owns your data? The answer might surprise youRestricted Content

September 8, 2012
Tim Altom
When you reveal information about yourself, do you still own or control it? And if you reveal something about someone else, who owns it then?
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ALTOM: A reminder that offices are full of low-tech hazardsRestricted Content

August 25, 2012
Tim Altom
Even laser pointers can be hazardous if they’re pointed right into an unprotected retina.
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ALTOM: Death of paper has been greatly exaggeratedRestricted Content

August 11, 2012
Tim Altom
When I was a kid, eager futurists predicted what wonderful technologies we’d all have someday.
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ALTOM: Web begs you to take time to waste timeRestricted Content

July 28, 2012
Tim Altom
I have to confess that I sometimes use technology in a way that is the exact opposite of productivity. I waste good daylight hours using it for short bursts of enjoyment.
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ALTOM: Online detective work can amaze and find new marketsRestricted Content

July 14, 2012
Tim Altom
Google Earth is one of Google’s odder and spottier applications. It started life as Keyhole, a 3-D mapping program originally paid for by the CIA and subsequently purchased by Google in 2004.
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ALTOM: Tips for starting an office on a shoestringRestricted Content

June 30, 2012
Tim Altom
First, you’ll need good hardware. Don’t skimp here, because reliability trumps economy.
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ALTOM: LinkedIn hacking case holds a lesson about passwordsRestricted Content

June 16, 2012
Tim Altom
You often hear that you’re anonymous online, and you can be if you want to be. But if you want to buy or sell, register for newsletters, or get return e-mails, you have to declare your identity. And that identity is your e-mail address.
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ALTOM: Backups are important—just ask the folks at PixarRestricted Content

June 2, 2012
Tim Altom
Do you know where your backups are, right now? Most of us don’t, or if we do, we don’t know what shape they’re in.
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ALTOM: Businesses should be suspicious of app trapRestricted Content

May 19, 2012
Tim Altom
Smart-phone app costs can vary by orders of magnitude, just as websites can. The challenge is getting them to pay for themselves.
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ALTOM: FAA should bring electronic-device policies up to speedRestricted Content

May 5, 2012
Tim Altom
The public no longer accepts hollow proclamations with the same naïve grace.
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ALTOM: Tablet computers, business don't always mixRestricted Content

April 21, 2012
Tim Altom
I think a tablet is great if your business involves accessing or sharing information. A tablet isn’t such a great deal if you have to produce content.
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ALTOM: What matters most, privacy or convenience?Restricted Content

April 7, 2012
Tim Altom
As our devices become more aware of our travels, our preferences, our contacts, our messages, our photographs and even our dexterity, the line between convenience and spying is crossed without us even being aware of it.
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ALTOM: Limbaugh controversy comes with social-media lessonRestricted Content

March 24, 2012
Tim Altom
The pressure brought on Rush Limbaugh’s advertisers was through technology that wasn’t commonly used back when the talk radio host was building his successful brand.
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ALTOM: Does business really need gamification?Restricted Content

March 10, 2012
Tim Altom
The purpose of gamification is to apply the principles of gaming to another environment, like education or business. And as “gamifiers” admit, this is really old hat in business.
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ALTOM: Technology projects require end-user inputRestricted Content

February 25, 2012
Tim Altom
As we used to say in a career I had long ago, you can hammer a nail with your shoe, but it’s not particularly efficient. Unfortunately, too many technology users are doing just that.
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ALTOM: Political parties use data mining to value youRestricted Content

February 11, 2012
Tim Altom
As databases grow fat on information about us, they become extremely valuable for everything from designing product shelving in supermarkets to predicting ticket sales for professional sports teams.
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ALTOM: Anti-piracy efforts ignore realities of technologyRestricted Content

January 28, 2012
Tim Altom
There are times I have to go looking for a column topic, and there are times a topic stalks into my office and does an “Occupy the Desk” until I write about it.
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  1. Why not take some time to do some research before traveling to that Indiana town or city, and find the ones that are no smoking either inside, or have a patio? People like yourself are just being selfish, and unnecessarily trying to take away all indoor venues that smokers can enjoy themselves at. Last time I checked, it is still a free country, and businesses do respond to market pressure and will ban smoking, if there's enough demand by customers for it(i.e. Linebacker Lounge in South Bend, and Rack and Helen's in New Haven, IN, outside of Fort Wayne). Indiana law already unnecessarily forced restaurants with a bar area to be no smoking, so why not support those restaurants that were forced to ban smoking against their will? Also, I'm always surprised at the number of bars that chose to ban smoking on their own, in non-ban parts of Indiana I'll sometimes travel into. Whiting, IN(just southeast of Chicago) has at least a few bars that went no smoking on their own accord, and despite no selfish government ban forcing those bars to make that move against their will! I'd much rather have a balance of both smoking and non-smoking bars, rather than a complete bar smoking ban that'll only force more bars to close their doors. And besides IMO, there are much worser things to worry about, than cigarette smoke inside a bar. If you feel a bar is too smoky, then simply walk out and take your business to a different bar!

  2. As other states are realizing the harm in jailing offenders of marijuana...Indiana steps backwards into the script of Reefer Madness. Well...you guys voted for your Gov...up to you to vote him out. Signed, Citizen of Florida...the next state to have medical marijuana.

  3. It's empowering for this niche community to know that they have an advocate on their side in case things go awry. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Lrst9VXVKfE

  4. Apparently the settlement over Angie's List "bundling" charges hasn't stopped the practice! My membership is up for renewal, and I'm on my third email trying to get a "basic" membership rather than the "bundled" version they're trying to charge me for. Frustrating!!

  5. Well....as a vendor to both of these builders I guess I have the right to comment. Davis closed his doors with integrity.He paid me every penny he owed me. Estridge,STILL owes me thousands and thousands of dollars. The last few years of my life have been spent working 2 jobs, paying off the suppliers I used to work on Estridge jobs and just struggling to survive. Shame on you Paul...and shame on you IBJ! Maybe you should have contacted the hundreds of vendors that Paul stiffed. I'm sure your "rises from the ashes" spin on reporting would have contained true stories of real people who have struggled to find work and pay of their debts (something that Paul didn't even attempt to do).

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