Blog Idol: Why Cisco

The first week of this year’s Blogging Idol kicked off with interesting discussions around the contestants’ beginnings in IT, the demise of the Cisco Flip, and whether a hamster is a better investment than a RIM PlayBook.

Blogger Kevin Pashuk decided to give his take on Cisco’s decision to kill off the Flip Camera. He said the move was unexpected and will have the biggest impact in the education sector.

“With the ever increasing video recording capacity of smart phones, it is tough to justify buying a single purpose device,” he wrote. “But the niche education market found the Flip camera entirely appropriate, since they cannot build curriculum around the expectations that students will bring their own smart phones.”

He added that while the Cisco Flip device was a relatively small blip on the technology landscape, its demise underscores the fact that no technology product is completely safe at any major vendor.

“Just to jog your memory … I used to buy IBM computers that ran on a Nortel Network,” he said.

Pashuk also stumped his fellow contestants with his use of the word “polysemaniac.”

“I dearly love words, their meanings, and how they intermingle and create alternate meanings,” wrote Pashuk, adding he found the word on a word-of-the-day calendar. “I’m a textbook polysemaniac.”

Taking things in a different direction, blogger Ron Van Holst decided to talk IT careers. The engineering school graduate said his career has been split into two halves: “My Life 1.0” and “My Life 2.0.”

He said he began work in the telecommunications industry designing IO cards and chips that were embedded inside the switching fabric of large telephone switches. “My work began to feel more like IT when I landed in an architecture group developing multi-vendor customer solutions for voice, video and high speed data services over a variety of wireline access technologies,” he wrote.

After losing his job in the bubble burst of 2001, Van Holst became a consultant and eventually starting working closely with a well-funded start-up to help build a unified computing product for the HPC market.

“I learned Linux the hard way, by reading man pages and scripts written by others in order to build a test cluster and begin building up a suite of performance analysis benchmarks for the system we were building,” he wrote.

Blogging Idol veteran Don Sheppard said his career kicked off right after university and advised younger IT workers to make their career choices based on a five-year plan.

“I would say that today, more than ever before, a roadmap for your career can be a big help in answering the question of why am I here still,” he wrote.
Contestant Maurice Amzallag turned the discussion to the “personal computer,” proclaiming the concept has finally arrived and is now called a “smart phone.”

“It is personal in that it is truly carried on your person, there is a true 1-to-1 user/device ratio, it contains a lot of private information and communications, and people form an emotional bond to it as they see it as an extension of themselves” he wrote. “Oh, and it’s got as much horsepower as some of the desktops you still have deployed on your network.”

He invited skeptics of his theory to try picking up somebody else’s phone and look through it. “Based on the reaction, you would think you were Iraq invading Kuwait,” he wrote.

Pashuk also chimed in on the tablet market, asking readers whether he should purchase a RIM PlayBook or a hamster. The chances of a PlayBook device becoming a “dust collector” in 12 months are statistically high, he wrote, as opposed to two to three year lifespan of a hamster.

“At the end of its life, the hamster would still be doing what it does best, not superseded by Hamster 2.0,” Pashuk wrote. “It would appear that hamsters are a better investment than a new tablet in terms of longevity.”

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Jim Love, Chief Content Officer, IT World Canada

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