Nashville Web Design | Programming | IT | Atiba.com

Archive for the ‘Atiba News’ Category

The Internet is Broken

The internet is broken.

On March 12, 2019, Sir Tim Berners-Lee, the man who invented the Word Wide Web, commemorated its 30th birthday with a blog post that focused largely on what is wrong with it.

While working at the European scientific research center CERN in 1989, Sir Tim submitted a paper entitled “Information Management: A Proposal,” (which his boss returned to him with a note: “Vague but exciting”.)  Since then, the web and the internet it’s built on have come a long way.  What started as a relatively simple platform to post and link to information has become central to most of our lives.

There’s no doubt — at 30 years old the World Wide Web has a lot to celebrate.

It’s the place we go for everything from healthcare, to news, to shopping. We can use it to communicate, pontificate, or find a date.  Whether you’re selling, buying, blogging, tweeting, or just browsing, the World Wide Web has made many tasks in life much easier.

But as Sir Tim points out, the web’s ease of use is both a strength and a weakness.

As much as it provides otherwise marginalized groups with a place to speak freely, it also provides a conduit for hate speech and bullying. As easy as the web makes it to publish news, videos, and pictures, it provides no way of vetting their accuracy or source—it’s difficult to tell fact from fiction. With all the good this ingenious invention provides us, it also enables a worldwide unregulated platform for scammers and criminals to do harm.

Despite his warnings about the current state of the web, Sir Tim is hopeful for its future, stating that “given how much the web has changed in the past 30 years, it would be defeatist and unimaginative to assume that the web as we know it can’t be changed for the better in the next 30. If we give up on building a better web now, then the web will not have failed us. We will have failed the web.”

So, how can we build a better web?  How can we balance the benefits of freedom with the risks of promoting a virtual wild wild west?

There’s no easy answer, but Sir Tim’s blog post has inspired some interesting ideas. Most proposals to build a better web center around three common goals:

  • Reduce the spread of fake content (news, photos, and videos).
  • Stop the use of the web as a platform for cyberbullying.
  • Protect the web from scammers, hackers, and those with criminal intent.

When it comes to reducing the fake content, whether it originates from hackers or governments, AI (artificial intelligence) is far from perfect but is rapidly improving.  Companies like Twitter, Facebook, and Google are already using AI to block some fake content, but as the bad actors get more sophisticated it has become an ongoing battle. Nevertheless, as AI improves there’s a good chance the amount of fake content will fade.

Ending cyberbullying is more complex because it’s hard to define.  What’s the difference between online bullying, gossiping, or just sharing an honest opinion?  The latest ideas around curbing cyberbullying include technical, educational, and legal remedies.  Several are gaining traction, whether social media hate speech filters or mobile apps that alert parents when their kid is either a victim or perpetrator.

Protecting the web from being taken over by scammers is perhaps the biggest challenge. Because most all activity on the web can be anonymous, it can be hard to deter those with ill intent from tricking users into giving up their credit cards or their identities. Even so, techies are hard at work building “data loss prevention” systems that enhance antivirus, antimalware, and firewall systems by managing what data leaves your computer in addition to what is trying to enter it.

So yes, the internet is broken but all is not lost.

In the words for Sir Tim, “The web is for everyone and collectively we hold the power to change it. It won’t be easy. But if we dream a little and work a lot, we can get the web we want.”

JJ Rosen is the founder of Atiba. A Nashville software development and IT support company.  Visit www.atiba.com or www.atibanetworkservices.com for more info.

 

 

Tales from a 40 something Nashville IT guy: The Good and Bad of Technical Change

Written by JJ Rosen for The Tennessean…

Everything I’ve learned is now obsolete.

At least that’s what I concluded after completing my once-a-decade spring cleaning last weekend.

Having skipped the last couple of these epic declutter efforts, I knew I was in for a challenge.  Computer geeks like myself tend to struggle with what I call “never know when I might need it again” syndrome.  That, along with a sentimental attachment to technologies of the past, leads many of us to hang on to many cool things that most non-techies simply refer to as “junk.”

So, I dug into spring cleaning with a mix of curiosity and dread.  I was excited to take a walk down my geeky memory lane yet a bit sad to face the prospect of throwing things out that once were so valuable to me.

The first treasures I found in the corners of our attic included some old-school tech like:

  • My first PC (running DOS)
  • An old dot matrix printer
  • A copy of Lotus 1-2-3
  • Disks 1 and 3 of WordPerfect
  • An AOL CD
  • My first programming book – “dBase III Plus for Beginners”

I figured it was time for all of those to go.  None had been very expensive even 20-something years ago, but their sentimental value had faded since the 90s.

I found a few boxes of serial port adapters, parallel printer cables, and old modems. I’m not sure how these survived, so the decision to trash them was an easy one.

But things got more complicated as I made my way toward the center of the pile.

Nearly 30 years ago I zeroed out my savings account to buy a $2,000 copy of Novell NetWare 3.12.  This industry standard software for setting up servers and computer networks arrived in a big red box with 20 diskettes and five books.   I spent two years learning all there was to know about NetWare, only to see it totally fall out of favor a year later when Microsoft Windows Server came along.

How could I throw something away that was once so valuable? Heaving $2,000 and two years of work into the garbage just seemed wrong.

This can be tough to deal with for technology professionals.  No matter what we master today, there is good chance that within two to five years it will be completely obsolete.   It’s a never-ending learning curve.

Of course, tech isn’t the only profession that require ongoing education to remain relevant. All kinds of jobs face this – doctors, lawyers, CPAs, teachers, just to name a few.

I remember early on in my career, the prospect of starting over with a new technology every few years sounded like a negative thing.  I figured burnout would be the inevitable result of this cycle of learning the latest programming language then watching it become a relic only a short time later, and then repeating this pattern for years on end.

But, as I sat in my attic staring at my expensive but obsolete box of NetWare 3.12 diskettes, I began to think about the alternative of forced obsolescence—boredom.

Surrounded by boxes of old technology made me appreciate the upside of choosing a career that forces you to learn new things.  As much as I enjoyed learning NetWare, dbase III Plus, and Lotus 1-2-3, their demise forced me to move on to the next challenge.  This cycle keeps a job interesting.

So, after a bit more debate, I decided that along with my other old tech, my Netware box must go.  All that I had learned from it was now obsolete.  And that’s a good thing.

 

 

JJ Rosen is the founder of Atiba. A Nashville software development and IT consulting firmVisit www.atiba.com or www.cabedge.com for more info.

 

Managed Services: 5 Benefits of Outsourcing IT

Featured Video Play Icon

 

5 Benefits of Outsourcing IT Managed Services

 

In an ever-growing world of technology it can become overwhelming trying to keep up with the changes and risks involved with “doing it yourself”. That is why more businesses and organizations are outsourcing all or a portion of their IT department to a Managed Services provider like Atiba. Below are 5 benefits that can immediately be gained through outsourcing your IT through Managed Services.

 

IT Managed Services headquartered in Nashville, TN with additional IT support in Huntsville, AL and Chattanooga, TN.

 

  1. Controlling Costs

Outsourcing allows you to budget effectively by only paying for what you use when you need it. Also, a full-time IT staff may not have “enough work” to justify their compensation. Outsourcing Managed Services allows you to focus your resources where you need them most.

  1. Reduce Risk

No matter the business, there is sensitive data and information that needs to be protected. Are you positive that your current firewall, servers and security measures are up to date and doing their assigned tasks? A Managed Services company who is familiar with the requirements and standards needed to stay compliant will allow you to minimize the risk associated with maintaining sensitive information.

  1. Experienced and Qualified

If the HR department is hiring the IT staff, how do they know they have the experience truly needed to meet the needs of the organization? Would you go to a doctor if you were their only patient, or would you want one that has seen and diagnosed many issues before? The same is for your IT department. Trust the experts that are seeing more “patients”.

  1. Higher Efficiency

Organizations that use the DIY approach can have much higher costs and longer time frames for implementation and fixes. This will filter down to their customers. A highly skilled Managed Services team can implement new technology and forecast issues prior to them happening. This eliminates downtime and loss of production. It also allows the organization to focus on their core business rather than IT decisions that may or may not be correct or needed at all.

  1. Level the Playing Field

Having a Managed Services partner will allow your organization to have access to similar technology and expertise that typically only larger corporations have. This allows you to grow and scale at the pace you want without worrying about your IT keeping up. It is also closely related to the first benefit I listed regarding controlling costs.

 

Each one of these benefits can be used to create a much larger list of reasons to outsource your IT, but this should give you enough information to start the conversation within your organization. It can help determine what is best for you and your business. Headquartered in Nashville, TN, Atiba uses a Half Geek, Half Human approach to offer Managed Services to the entire US. This includes recent expansions to offer additional IT support and Managed Services in Huntsville, AL and Chattanooga, TN.

 

Contact Michael Baker – National Director of Business Development at 615-866-1832 or mbaker@atiba.com for more information and a free estimate.

https://www.linkedin.com/company/atiba-software-llc

https://instagram.com/atibageeks/

Atiba Kids: Learning to Troubleshoot

Atiba Kids is our blog series written by the kids of Atiba techies about their techno-geek adventures.

Troubleshooting and Video Games By Max Rosen (Kid of Atibian JJ Rosen)

We all know that one kid who is really into video games, but also into the tech behind it. For a lot of people, that is me.

I love getting into the sort of complicated tech behind video games. When people don’t know how to fix something wrong with their game, I’m always ready to help.

For instance, a good friend of mine was having some trouble with getting a laggy (adults just say “slow”) game. He was running at around 15 FPS (Frames Per Second) and had been doing so for a good while. I had done my research beforehand, and found out it was because he was dedicating only 2GB of RAM to the game, where he should’ve been using 4-15GB. I helped him reconfigure the memory done and boom, his game runs far smoother.

However, we all have our limits of computer knowledge.

Last summer, I had acquired a Virtual Reality (VR) headset. VR is still kind of new to the gaming industry, so naturally, there are bugs. I plugged everything into my desktop, got the VR sensors running, and installed all of the software.. It ran for about 20 minutes. I got to play the game Beat Saber, a sort of guitar-hero but with swords and VR, for around 15 minutes; and Rec Room, a multi-player minigame hub, for about five.

And then suddently…my VR headset just crashed. It stopped working. My techie cousin and I were perplexed! We spent two hours troubleshooting.

First, we restarted the computer. Like any person who has watched any comedy involving computers we were saying, “Of course this will work, it always does”. It didn’t. Next step, we re-ran the installer. Didn’t work. We restarted again after running the installer just to be safe. Still nothing.

We had tried so many things, from unplugging things and plugging them back in, and timing it, to switching the video ports around, to even busting open the headset and unplugging and plugging cords. We tried everything… or so we thought.

Just like in any hobby, there are always people better than you in tech support. I got frustrated so I ate dinner and went to bed.

Next day I woke up and got on the support site for my particular VR headset. I reluctantly started a chat with a superior techie. We talked about all of the troubleshooting I had already done, then she started giving me new ideas. A few of them I face-palmed on, saying in my head “Oh I’m so dumb,” and “Why didn’t I think of that?”.

Being with other techies is like being in a music store, you pick up a guitar to try it out, and you play your best, then as soon as you are done someone picks up another guitar and starts shredding the heck out of that thing. In other words, you don’t want to look stupid.

Eventually, after spending about an hour chatting with the support agent, she said, “You could have one of two different problems, but they both lead to a common answer: your VR headset is faulty”. In a sense I was relieved. I was glad that the product was just broken instead of my computer being the problem. A day later I sent the headset back, and in a week, we got a new one.

A lesson was learned:

Never be afraid to call a support agent even if it makes you feel inferior. Just admit it, there is someone better than you and it’s okay to call them for help.

Shadowing Day

Sometimes the best thing about loving your job is being able to share it with other people. Atiba believes in investing in the future, and a few weeks ago, Atiba employees hosted a group of young software developers in our Nashville office for “Shadow Day.”

Here’s the feedback we got…

My Shadow Day at Atiba:

I came to Nashville last Tuesday to do a shadow day  at Atiba. I am a recent graduate from the school Bowling Green State University in Ohio and am looking to become a full time web developer. On Wednesday I got to see what the Tech scene in Nashville is like in person and it is very cool.

The office at Atiba has a very unique aesthetic as it is located in an old car factory that now is host to many different businesses. At the top of the office is were all of the coders at Atiba work and it reminded me of a scene from AMC’s show Halt and Catch Fire. For the majority of the day I got to talk to and learn from lots of different coders while they worked on their projects. One big thing that helped me is seeing what languages and programs are used in the industry so I could see what I still need to learn. Later on I got to go out to lunch with all of the programmers at Osake for some of the best sushi I have had. After we got back I got a chance to watch some C programming and understand the workflow of the programmers at Atiba

After having the chance to see a real tech company in action, it has made me want to dive into the programming world even more than before. I am very excited to see what things will come next in the tech world and for myself.


Shadowing is one of the most valuable job experiences someone new on the job market can have.  Interested in shadowing at Atiba?   Email us at jobs@atiba.com !

A Day in the Life of a Nashville Angular Developer

A Day in the Life of an Atiba Nashville Angular Developer

Sharing what we do Atiba so both clients and potential employees can see the behind the scenes of what’s it like being a coder in Nashville is part of our culture.  AngularJS / Angular coding along with ReactJS has been some of the main coding we have been working on for our clients the past few years.

Here’s a peak at a day the life of an Atiba Nashville Angular developer:

  • We did our stand-up meetings with clients and/or internal development teams first thing every morning at 8 am each day.
  • From there, I usually connect into Jira to look at the user stories I will be working on for the day
  • I started in Angular but now I have been focusing in Angular 2.x development.   I have 2 main projects I am working on.  One is working on the front-end of an intranet site and the other is for a large public website we developed and support called Guitars.com.
  • Lunch! We usually pickup lunch (we have a Microsoft Teams Channel we use to coordinate lunch plans.  Sometimes we all go out / depends on the day.
  • After lunch I either keep the Angular coding going — or depending on deadlines I will use some of my learning time that Atiba builds into the week to study new tech (currently working on learning PHP Laravel)
  • Wind down ~5 pm or so, some days stay later others done a bit sooner.

I have been working at Atiba for 7 years.  I started as a C# coder and still work on some .Net but have enjoyed mixing it up a bit!

Atiba has some of Nashville’s best front-end developers with a crew of JavaScript gurus doing Angular, React, JQuery and more.   Let us know if we can can ever help you with you project!

 

 

Kids and Technology – It’s not all bad…

The combination of tech and kid gets a bad rap.  Is tech bad for kids?  Not always…

JJ Rosen from Atiba — our bi-weekly Tennessean.com column on biz-tech topics for Nashville and beyond.

https://www.tennessean.com/story/money/tech/2018/09/28/technology-and-kids-really-such-bad-thing/1447161002/

 

Drupal Basics from Nashville’s Drupal Developers

A quick Drupal overview from Nashville’s Drupal Developers…

Drupal is free software, written in PHP, which has a wide and active community of users and developers who collaborate together in its improvement and expansion. Drupal is designed to be the perfect content management solution for non-technical users who need both simplicity and flexibility. This is achieved with a modular approach to site construction.  Unlike other CMSs, Drupal is not a prefabricated toy truck, but rather a collection of wheels, windshields, axles, frames, etc., that a toy manufacturer can easily assemble.

Drupal can be described both as a content management system and as a content management environment: a unified system that strives to have the advantages of both, without its shortcomings. In this way, if someone is looking to create a news site, an online store, social networks, blog, wiki, or something totally different, it is all about finding the right combination of modules.

This extension is possible because it is a modular system with a very consistent architecture, which allows modules created by any developer to interact with the core of the system and modules created by other members of the community. With Drupal, it is possible to implement a wide variety of websites: a personal or professional blog, a corporate portal, a virtual store, a social network or virtual community, etc … Directed to those people, with technical training or not, who want to start in the creation of Web Portals with Drupal. It is also very useful for companies or professionals who want to create their professional or personal web portal without external dependencies.

Drupal is an open source program, with GNU / GPL license, written in PHP, developed and maintained by an active community of users. It stands out for the quality of its code and the pages generated the respect of web standards, and a special emphasis on the usability and consistency of the entire system. Online help: A robust online help system and help pages for the ‘core’ modules, both for users and administrators.

Open source: The Drupal source code is freely available under the terms of the GNU / GPL license. Unlike other systems of ‘blogs’ or proprietary content management, it is possible to extend or adapt Drupal according to the needs.

Modules: The Drupal community has contributed many modules that provide features such as ‘category page’, private messages, bookmarks, etc.

Personalization: A robust personalization environment is implemented in the core of Drupal. Both the content and the presentation can be individualized according to the preferences defined by the user.

Friendly URLs: Drupal uses the mod_rewrite of Apache to create URLs that are manageable by users and search engines

Your email is an easy target for hackers — here’s how to secure it…

In this week’s USA Today / Tennessean column, Atiba founder JJ Rosen provides tips on how to secure your email.

http://www.tennessean.com/story/money/tech/2017/05/15/email-easy-target-hackers-dont-make-easier-them/319953001/

Contact info@atiba.com as needed for your security needs.

5 Benefits of Outsourcing IT Through Managed Services

In an ever-growing world of technology, it can become overwhelming trying to keep up with the myriad of changes and risks involved with “doing it yourself”. That is why more and more businesses and organizations are outsourcing their IT department to a Managed Services company. As National Director of Business Development for Atiba a Nashville Managed Services company, here are my top 5 benefits that can immediately be gained through outsourcing your IT through Managed Services.

1. Controlling Costs

Outsourcing allows you to budget effectively by only paying for what you use when you need it. Also, rather than having a full-time IT staff that may or may not have “enough work” to justify their compensation, outsourcing Managed Services allows you to focus your resources where you need them most.

2. Reduce Risk

No matter the business, there is sensitive data and information that needs to be protected. Are you positive that your current firewall, servers and security measures are up to date and doing their assigned tasks? A Managed Services company who is familiar with the requirements and standards needed to stay compliant will allow you to minimize the risk associated with maintaining sensitive information.

3. Experienced and Qualified

If the HR department is hiring the IT staff, how do they know that they have the experience truly needed to meet the needs of the organization? Would you go see a doctor if you were the only patient, or would you want one that has seen and diagnosed many issues before? The same is for your IT department. Trust the experts that are seeing more “patients”.

4. Higher Efficiency

Organizations that turn to the DIY approach can have much higher costs and longer time frames for implementation and fixes, which filters down to their customers. A highly skilled Managed Services team can implement new technology and forecast issues prior to them happening, allowing no downtime and loss of production. This also allows the organization to focus on their core business rather than IT decisions that may or may not be correct or needed at all.

5. Level the Playing Field

Having a Managed Services partner will allow your organization to have access to similar technology and expertise that typically only larger corporations have. This allows you to grow and scale at the pace you want without worrying about your IT keeping up. This is also closely related to the first benefit I listed regarding controlling costs.

Each one of these benefits can easily be dissected further, creating a much larger list of reasons to outsource your IT department to a Managed Services company, but this should give you enough information to start the conversation within your organization of what is best for you and your business. As a Nashville Managed Services company, Atiba are happy to answer any questions you have surrounding this service.