The return of ComputerWorld Canada’s Blogging Idol

IT World Canada Editor-in-Chief Shane Schick is sounding more like Simon Cowell every day.

His vowels are broadening in a distinctly South English manner, and he’s saying things to the reporters like, “If your lifeguard duties were as good as your writing, a lot of people would be drowning,” and “Oh, shut up, Paula.” (We don’t have anyone on staff named Paula, but it helps him keep in character.)

It’s time for our second annual Blogging Idol competition, wherein contestants will blog over a six-week period on a series of technology-related topics. We’ll give the bloggers themes and ideas, best practices training and feedback. What they’ll give us is a front-line perspective on subjects like how we can use IT to solve real business problems, how technology can make us a greener society and how to deal with the profusion of legacy networks.

Fortunately, Simon — um, Shane — won’t be alone in judging the quality of the postings. That’s a role you, as a reader, will play. The blogger that draws the most traffic wins our $1,000 top prize. The single posting that draws the most traffic wins a Nikon Coolpix digital camera, and a third-place winner gets a BestBuy gift certificate. Several of our bloggers from last year’s competition continue to write for us today, and have been profiled in print and online. And that’s part of the end-game of Blogging Idol — to encourage user-generated content.

UGC is increasingly on our radar at IT World Canada. Our readers are among the most talented and creative people in IT today, and a source of genuine wisdom about how technology solves problems (and how to solve problems with technology). We want to tap that resource on behalf of the IT community in Canada and offer a source of accumulated knowledge and opinion regarding corporate computing. Here’s a sampling of the wit and wisdom of this year’s contributors so far:

? “They are not ”users” that just do not understand how significant the impact of the Star Trek franchise is almost everything we take for granted today. They are your ”customers” and if anything, you need to become more like THEM. Being intimidated by you is not a good thing. Making them feel like they are asking ”user, i.e. dumb” questions does not increase your power, but diminishes it. If technology is hard, it IS up to you to make it easier.” — Pedro Cardoso

? “IT certainly can’t make people communicate more. If you aren’t letting your staff know what’s going on, it doesn’t matter what tools the IT department has put at your disposal. But a project should never break down because of a lack of appropriate tools for communication. There are far too many, and they can be far too effective for this to be the case.” — Nathan Griffiths

? “Imagine a business reaping dual benefits of its investment in a system that is orchestrated with SOA and stabilized using AGILE approach…the system that is robust yet flexible enough to adapt to any changes without affecting seamless service delivery and that’s the beauty of SOA mixed with AGILE methodology!” — Asma Rafi

? “How can we solve real business problems? – We (meaning IT people (aka Computer Geeks) have to make the technology accessible to the masses. It is not until a technology hits critical mass that it can solve real business problems.” — Bill Smith

? “I’m thinking of finding an old printer and planting a tree coming out of it to go for an impact. Instead of a message saying, “Your Document Has Printed”, I’m going to change it up and have the jobs run through the ‘Printer Bush’ and then a ‘Green Rdy’ button will need to be pressed in order to process the job.” — Andrew Waugh

? “It remains to be seen if the Pre will become the holy grail of the handheld market. My guess is not. At best, it will grab a niche market, and it will need to do so by signing deals with wireless phone providers. The summer is a long time away.” — Chris Lau

? “Clearly, IT systems are good at information gathering – with Google being the leader in the collection, indexing and presentation of information – people can use this data to help make decisions. IT could solve the problem of the internal Google for businesses (I know there are enterprise search engines, but they never seem to have all of the internal information).” — Don Sheppard, last year’s winner

There’s something to be learned, something to take issue with, something to heartily agree with and something to vehemently argue every week in the Blogging Idol postings. So bookmark it at and vote with your mouse. And shut up, Paula.

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Jim Love, Chief Content Officer, IT World Canada

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