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Is Fear Driving Your Life?

I was one of those unfortunate enough to be the head of the Y2K committee at a computer company. We had to admonish our customers to test the software and make sure that the VARs hadn't been sloppy.

It turned out that our operating system didn't have the dreaded bug, but I still had to have weekly staff meetings, conference calls, and meetings with customers for two years before the nonevent. Yes, this cost a lot of time and money. It can also dull our senses to what's really a risk or stupid mistake. It shows in some of the headlines I read today (VA, etc.). --Al Haley

The media reports the extreme situations and is always ready to fan the flames to take advantage of our human nature to want something new and exciting, even if it comes on the wings of fear. --MG

What impresses me is that the concerns about the computing monoculture are approximately as true today as when the phrase gained currency. When it's all said and done, I expect the gains in Linux don't outweigh the losses for NetWare and the major Unixes. Microsoft and the IT community are giving greater attention to security, which is good, but invulnerability isn't a realistic goal.

So, the bottom line seems to me to trump fear. Perhaps it's exactly because we ignore more realistic and grave threats such as global warming because the price tag of fixing them is too high that we tend to hysteria over less likely and sensationalistic risks. --Maggie

I was recently discussing with a friend how fear has become the greatest commercial commodity. Fear has become the primary driver in people's lives, and why not--it's everywhere. It's perpetuated by our government, the media (CNN is a great example of this), and, lastly, ourselves.

If we take a deeper look at our fears, we'll see that the realization of those fears is very, very unlikely; it's the dramatization of the occurrence that we stay stuck on. Play the percentages and lower the risks, and say goodbye to fear. --Michael G. From Canada

Is Central IT The Web 2.0 Villain?

My company is very driven by the flow of knowledge and information from instant messaging, e-mail, and our own internal knowledge base product. To us, Google Desktop was an incredible tool for cutting through the solid lines between these discrete pools of knowledge. No longer did I need to dig through subfolders of old e-mails to find a particular message or thread.

However, our IT department forced the removal of Google Desktop on the grounds that its indexing queries created too big of a load against our Exchange server and was hurting overall performance. I haven't seen any great performance increase to Outlook/Exchange since Google Desktop was taken away, but I have seen a great dip in productivity because of my increased time devoted to organizing, sorting, and storing information and knowledge. --Lee Jackson

Just as some IT "consumers" misunderstand the values and importance of IT security, many IT security staffers misunderstand value gained from taking appropriate, measured risks. An assessment of the risk versus the benefit of a given Web app or technology should be the basis for decisions. Organizations that effectively achieve a balance will have an advantage over their competitors who do not. --Craig C

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