Thursday, March 25, 2004

Lows and Highs

I was kind of depressed after yesterday AM's Futures Forum at the PBL Building at Case.

Neosa and REI@Weatherhead put together a dynamite panel moderated by Dr Luis Proenza, president of the University of Akron.

Manuel Glynias, the founder of NetGenics represented Biotech. Lev Gonick, CIO of Case represented higher education and IT, Scott Rickert, President of Nanofilm Ltd. was there for nanotechnology and Industry Week’s John Soat gave an IT and Journalism perspective.

Except for Rickert who saw great promise, especially locally, for nanotech, the others were more sobering. It seemed that many of the things that have to be done to make our community, country and world improve the way they could and should are beyond our control. Self-serving and shortsighted politicians have too much power and are reluctant, if not adamantly opposed, to considering the broader vision and hence, the broader good.

That doesn’t mean we quit trying - we actually have to try more - lots more.

My mood picked up Wednesday evening. John Nottingham & John Spirk spoke at the JCU Entrepreneur’s Association dinner meeting at MOCA. Their brilliant designs have yielded numerous companies, countless jobs and hundreds of millions in revenue for the area. Their focus on consumer products, 70% of the US economy, was in contrast to the morning’s glimpse at bio, nano and info tech.

Check out the review of Nottingham & Spirk and wait for the mood upswing.

Friday, March 05, 2004

1 2 years ago today?

What were you doing 12 years ago? I can actually remember. March 5, 1992 I was cruising all over town - even had Channel 3 and 8 following and filming me. Why?

Because on March 6, 1992, the Michelangelo Virus was going to kick in.

Viruses were new back then - this was pre-Internet (the Internet we know today at least) days and most infections were caused by sharing floppy disks. I used to go to the library and borrow software whenever I wanted to test a new virus. Those disks were like Petri dishes - every virus out there seemed to end up on those disks.

The hype was enormous - this was all new to a world that was increasingly dependent on their PC as a business tool. We weren’t sure what exactly would happen.

I remember explaining to Channel 8’s Martin Savidge just what possible damage could be done. Now the level of naivety seems almost quaint as we are accustomed to routine virus and worm outbreaks.

My advice back then is the same as it is now - backup your important data regularly, store it offsite, test the restore process occasionally and keep your anti-virus definitions current. Now I add, make sure your systems patches are up to date.

Michelangelo did little damage compared to the hype. There were random outbreaks, many in Japan, and some annoyances and expense, but nothing like some predicted. All the exposure may have done some good in alerting people to possible infections and the need for backups.

My favorite virus (yes, I had favorites because most were not malicious) was the Cookie Virus. It would randomly, and with increasing frequency, pop up a window on your screen with the message “Give me a cookie.”

If you knew, or guessed, to type in “Oreo” it would say thanks and remove itself. Those were indeed simpler days.