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Throwback Thursday: Get the picture?

IT director pilot fish at a daily newspaper is reworking the company’s entire network. Why? “There is no security,” sighs fish. “None, with about 90 users in a peer-to-peer Mac and PC environment.”

One night he gets a call from an editor: One of the applications isn’t working. It’s the one that lets a reporter find a photo on a wire service’s website and save it to a folder. The app then moves the folder to a holding folder on another machine, where yet another machine can grab it and put it into the newspaper’s production process.

It takes a couple hours of troubleshooting, but fish tracks down the problem. That holding folder? The one that’s actually named “Do not touch, do not delete”?

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With cashier-less checkout, retailers should be careful what they wish for

As the battle for cashier-less stores rages on — with Amazon Go’s one-store trial pushing Microsoft and Walmart to explore a mobile cart-based system to ditch associates at checkout — it’s worth questioning whether an employee-less checkout system is something that retailers should truly want. Fully cashier-less efforts should fall into the “be careful what you wish for” category.

The challengers for cashier-less checkout are not solely technological, although the tech hurdles are substantial. Anyone remember JCPenney’s failed effort to fuel cashier-less checkout via RFID?

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Apple ‘raised the bar’ for enterprise IT

If you can determine the vitality of a platform within a sector by the activity it generates, then the appearance of new Apple in the enterprise-focused start-up, Fleetsmith, speaks volumes. I caught up with Zack Blum, CEO and co-founder to see why he thinks the enterprise is Apple’s space today.

Apple ‘raised the bar’ for enterprise IT

Apple’s place in the enterprise is an iPhone success story, he observes:

“In many ways, Apple formalized and standardized the introduction of mobile to the enterprise, going all the way back to the iPhone’s introduction in 2007, and the iPad, which debuted in 2010,” he said.

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UC Berkeley puts blockchain training online; thousands sign up

UC Berkeley in 2016 saw the potential for teaching about blockchain with a primary focus on bitcoin and the other cryptocurrencies the technology underpins.

At the time, about 70 students signed up.

Next month, the university will kick off an online professional certificate program for blockchain, a three-month, two-part course focusing on cryptocurrencies and permissioned blockchains aimed at equipping students for careers in developing the distributed ledger technology for businesses.

So far, 7,400 students have already signed up.

“We’ve had other online courses that have done well, mainly STEM-related content… but I’d say this course’s early results show very impressive enrollments,” said Suzanne Harrison, director of design and development at UC Berkeley.

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Think of it as meeting the needs of the company

Flashback almost three decades, to when this pilot fish is hired as a systems analyst — and gets an unpleasant surprise.

“When I started with this company, I nearly quit because there were so many meetings!” says fish. “I was told this was necessary to keep everyone informed about what the company was doing.

“After three years, our CIO held a large meeting and told us that, in order to empower us, we were to reduce the number of meetings held. So suddenly I found myself going for weeks without a single meeting.

“Fast forward a few years: We got a new CIO, who informed us that we needed to be in step with the company and to insure we were all informed they would hold meetings each week. More meetings were added, and soon I found myself attending meetings at the same frequency I was when I joined the company.

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Mingis on Tech: What makes a ‘Best Place’ to work in IT?

There’s a reason many of the organizations on Computerworld‘s latest list of the 100 Best Places to Work in IT show up routinely: They’ve realized that an engaged IT worker who’s encouraged to think (and act) outside the corporate box is often a happy IT worker.

And happy workers are less likely to walk out the door, taking much-needed tech skills with them.

As Val Potter, Computerworld‘s Managing Editor for Features, explains, companies have found value in encouraging a healthy work/life balance; offering skills training and career growth; providing recognition and rewards programs; allowing for access to top management; emphasizing team work; and giving back to the community.

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