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Friday Five – January 28, 2011

Here are this week’s five interesting articles…

#1 – Microsoft UC Team Blog: Don’t Be the Last Company on Notes [Ed Brill]

On behalf of 50,000 organizations worldwide, let me say this in the most professional way possible:

Don’t insult us, Microsoft.

Today, Microsoft came clean on their whisper campaign of the last six months, where they go to CIOs and say, “you don’t want to be the last company on Lotus Notes.”

Ed Brill is IBM’s preeminent blogger and the Director of Messaging and Collaboration, IBM Lotus Software. As IBM gears up for their annual Lotusphere conference, Microsoft will be preparing to issue their annual press release that digs at how Notes is dead. The reality is that both IBM and Microsoft have strong products. Here at Praxair we’ve been leaning away from building applications on Notes in favor of SharePoint & .NET in recent years, but at the same time are looking at the email/IM/messaging infrastructure of both companies. There’s always a risk of putting all your eggs in one basket, and the financial benefit of going single vendor for all technologies isn’t as clear as some may think.

#2 – The Reality of Social Media Usage in the Enterprise [CMSWire]

  • Fifty percent of the 2010 Inc. 500 have a corporate blog (up from 45% in 2009 and 39% in 2008)
  • Forty-four percent say Facebook is the single most effective social networking platform they use (It’s also the tool that most (87%) are most familiar with)
  • Fifty-nine percent use Twitter for their business

As for what purpose they are using Facebook, Twitter and blogs, the study reported that

  • Fifty-seven percent report using search engines and social networking sites to recruit and evaluate potential employees.
  • Most companies indicated that their blog aimed to engage consumers through accepting and replying to comments and providing a vehicle for subscriptions.
  • Companies noted that social media is not only used for communication between business and consumers, but for communicating with vendors and partners as well.

Social media is as much a reality today as email. Companies that don’t get on board are just getting behind. Along the same vein…

#3 – 2010: The Numbers We Saw [OpenDNS Blog]

Data collected on how people used Web content filtering in 2010 shows this fact: Facebook is the #1 most blacklisted site. And interestingly enough, it’s also the #2 most whitelisted site. Other sites that were frequently blocked include MySpace and YouTube.

DNS is the system that allows you to type “praxair.com” into your web browser and get that request routed to the correct computer so it sends you back the right web page. This way, you don’t have to remember that is the computer you’re trying to get to. DNS can also be exploited by scammers by making it look like you’re clicking on something legit but really sending you somewhere else. OpenDNS is a fantastic and relatively easy way for individuals to protect themselves from online problems. In a nutshell, at home you change your home networking router from using the DNS servers provided by your ISP to OpenDNS’s servers. OpenDNS will automatically prevent you from getting to any unscrupulous sites that it knows about, as well as allow you to block entire categories of legitimate sites (porn, for example). If you have kids, this is a great way to keep them away from the bad stuff on the internet.

OpenDNS is illustrating a strange situation here – that Facebook is one of the most blocked AND most allowed sites by their users. In their report, OpenDNS explains this thusly:

The fact that many of the same sites that appear on the Top Ten Blacklisted Websites list appear on the list below may indicate the diverse perspectives people have regarding many of these sites.

Indeed. However, the fact that people that typically block large amount of sites are whitelisting Facebook may be more telling than the inverse.

Since we’re on a Facebook roll…

#4 – Social Media Research + Employment Decisions: May Be a Recipe for Litigation [Social Media Law Update] via [Digital Landfill]

There are subjects that are considered off limits for employers to ask job applicants about. Under federal law, Title VII of the Civil Rights Act prohibits discrimination when making employment related decisions. A company cannot make hiring, discipline and termination decisions based on any of the following protected factors: race, color, national origin, religion and gender. The Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA) adds to the list with a prohibition on discrimination against individuals who are 40 years or older. And, finally, the Americans With Disabilities Act of 1990 prohibits discrimination against “qualified disabled” individuals. Employment decisions are defined broadly and include promotion, demotion, compensation, and transfers.

Many states add additional areas that are off limits for making employment decisions. For example, California also gives protected status to: sexual orientation, marital status, pregnancy, cancer, political affiliation, genetic characteristics, and gender identity.

It is very easy to see how someone with a Facebook page may post about these protected factors. Thus, the challenge for employers who are researching job applicants, or monitoring the social media activity of their employees, is not to let this protected status information bleed into their employment decisions. Under federal and state law, employers should not make employment decisions that are “motivated by” a person’s membership in a protected class.

My take on HR looking at social media channels for information about employees has been that they should be more concerned if they can’t find anything about a potential employee than if they can. I’ve said that before, and it’s certainly truer than ever.

And now for something completely different…

#5 – LibreOffice 3.3 Final Gives the OpenOffice.org Suite a Fresh Start [lifehacker]

The first finalized release of the OpenOffice.org spin-off, LibreOffice, has hit the web at version 3.3. It’s got a few unique features, an ever-so-slightly tweaked look, and the ability to export to Microsoft’s DOCX format by default.

You can read up on the new features and fixes and general release notes, but know that, in general, this is an OpenOffice.org package released under a different banner, for a multitude of reasons.

If you’re a fan of the free office productivity software package OpenOffice.org, you’ll want to read more about LibreOffice. Just as there are spats in the commercial software industry (see article #1) similar things happen in the open source community as well. Hit the “multitude of reasons” link above for more on that.

And to bring things full circle, another free alternative to Microsoft Office or one of the free suites above is IBM Lotus Symphony. Give it a try.

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One Comment

  1. Thanks for the kind words about OpenDNS and for sharing our report with your readers!

    If you ever have any OpenDNS related questions, feel free to get in touch.


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