Change is good...right?

Change is good, so long as it doesn’t impact me.

Those of us in technology live in a world of constant change. We like to think we ride the waves of changes, like surfers, and we make it look so easy and natural. New technology waves are mostly fun; we see, we paddle like hell, we ride the wave and yell!

But real change means changing behavior. New technologies often require us to alter something we are doing, or eliminating something to do something else. When we put in new information systems, such as Banner, it changes the manner in which we conduct the business of the University. We implement myPlymouth, and it changes the way we communicate to the campus community. We upgrade WebCT and faculty have to alter some of their habits in how they manage their courses. We install new security software on our network, and we force users to upgrade their computer security.

It all boils down to doing something different. And we geeksters just seem to roll with it.

Yet there is the human element of change. It’s my sense that we all cope with behavioral change differently, at different times in our lives. In our youth, bring it on. In our twilight years, we like routine and predictability. In between, much of it seems to depend on how much control you have over change. It’s one thing to be an initiator…it’s quite another to have change thrust upon you.

I’m great with change. I love new technologies, I’ve changed jobs and moved several times, I’ve managed several high profile projects that change organizations.

Now I’ve found a point of my own resistance: blogging. When I write, I write to my staff or to target audiences. I use email and the web. Blogging is so public, so open. And, I’ve yet to find many blogs that capture my attention. Sure, there’s a lot out there, but too many leave me wondering ‘where’s the beef?’ Too many appear to be spontaneous combustion about personal musings.

My real question: are blogs truly the path of future communication or just the latest fad, borne and supported by those most enthralled. Clearly they are only for those comfortable writing aloud.

But I work with a talented group in ITS. I learn a lot from them. We met on Friday in my living room for an animated discussion of Web 2.0 and the power of blogging. They have convinced me to change a behavior, to stop writing those long ITS reports and start piecemealing them into more routine blog updates. Also, this is probably a better way for a CIO to communicate to the campus on a variety of topics. The question is, will anyone read it. Will I produce some beef?

So here I go. I’m a bit off balance, but who ever said change was supposed to be easy.

Student computers and security threats for those less vigilant

Incoming Freshman Unaware of Security Risks

Computer experts are saying that the average computer user, such as students and home computer users, need training in order to protect themselves from online security risks. 11,000 new viruses were documented in the first six months of 2005 according to Symantec, a security software firm. “There is an enormous need to educate non-computer professionals on computer security – there are a lot of naïve users out there,� said Bruce Schneier, Chief Technology Officer of Counterpane Internet Security Inc. A study found that 62 percent of homes with broadband Internet access d0 not regularly update their anti-virus software, which could carry over to their kids headed off to college.