Bryan Ruby

Thoughts, Words, and Deeds

United States students continue to fall behind in IT education

All I can do is shake my head in the direction education has taken in the United States. I've written about this topic in the past, a little here and on another blog of mine. In one of those blog posts, I wrote the following.

American society as a whole seems to have less value for education, especially in the sciences and math, than when I was growing up. Maybe I’m more sensitive to these numbers since I am a scientist at heart…but isn’t anyone else disturbed by this trend? While I feel there should have been something done to help reverse this downward spiral sooner, I’m glad at least that it is finally getting some some well deserved attention by the Bush administration.

College students in the United States are not showing up in those university programs that are focused on physical science, computer science, math, and engineering. There are a number of politicians, parents, and students that will blame the public school education system for the current state of education in the United States. I have some serious doubts whether fingers should really be pointed in the direction of the teachers or even school system. I think in many ways, those fingers should be pointed right back to the parents and their children. Perhaps life in America is so good that by the time the student becomes a young adult, life hasn't prepared them to face the challenges and disappointments they need to do well in the sciences.

IT contributions to the economy

A recent eWeek article reported that a United States "policy think tank" found that in the past decade, information technology boosted the U.S. economy by $2 trillion dollars.

"For the United States alone, what we found was that because of the digital revolution, GDP is $2 trillion larger today than it would have been had growth in the post-1995 era proceeded at the 1974 to 1995 rate," said Robert D. Atkinson, Ph.D., president of the Information Technology & Innovation Foundation.

 "We need to recognize this phenomenon and adjust our thinking to make IT a centerpiece of our economic policy--from planning and forecasting to tax policies that incent future growth."

Two trillion dollars - that my friends is a lot of money.   Hopefully, those of us in information technology will not be so hesitant in the future to ask for that raise or time off we so deserve.  Of course, there is one problem for those of us who chose careers as IT professionals.  The problem is we make the IT job look so darn easy that those guys upstairs don't quite recognize difficult IT tasks when they see it.  IT professionals contribute so much more in the business than the business managers want to admit.  I say that it's time we work on our game plan...

Alex King does it better

When I first started developing this website,, it was my intention to also take "the opportunity to provide a series of how-to articles on building a Website using Drupal".  I wanted to help those getting started in using a content management system for their site by suggesting some tips and ideas that could make their life easier.  As time wore on, when it came to my own site I found that except for a few well written posts I failed miserably at this goal.

I'm pretty good at tasks such as developing, innovating, documenting, and system administration.  However, some people can't walk and chew bubble gum at the same time.  Unfortunately, I'm one of those people.  I have difficulty developing and documenting at the same time.  This isn't unusual as one of the most talented programmers I know struggles with documentation and will ask me for help in writing instructions for his own software.  My point is that when you find people who is blessed with being able to document their own work you need to let others know about that person.

Not sweating the early change to Daylight saving

I suppose it's expected, but the media's focus of a possible Daylight Savings Time (DST) computer meltdown is just too predictable.  Take for instance this CNET News article, Daylight saving change proves thorny for businesses:

With the early move to daylight saving time taking place this weekend, businesses not yet ready for the change are finding themselves in a race against the clock.

I am for one not too concerned about the DST change.  First of all, after going through all the Y2K hype and not having too many difficulties...I refuse to worry much about this event.  Secondly, most of my operational systems are on Universal Time Co-ordinated (UTC, also GMT).  For a third reason, unlike Y2K...most clients are actually time synced with the servers.  Finally...the worse thing that can happen is a machine or two is off an hour for a few minutes before we change the time or reboot.

Meanwhile, I plan on sleeping a little later Sunday to make for for that "lost hour" we all are losing.

Why I am attracted to open source

From CMS Report's very beginning, I had every intention to talk about not only those content management systems (CMS) that are open source, but also those CMS that are considered propriety systems.  I personally don't have a problem seeing companies making profit for the products they develop and promote.  Yet, if you look at the majority of posts I have written in the past year you'll find that about 95% of the articles center around open source CMS and not propriety systems.  Part of the reason I don't talk much about propriety CMS is that I just don't have the same access to them as I do with open source software.  However, a tiny article in one of the IT trade magazines reminded me another reason why I talk so much about open source software.

In ComputerWorld's February 12, 2007 issue there is a small article on page 8 titled, "There’s lots of Web 2.0 talk...but where’s the real action?"  The article discusses how commercial Web sites are looking into AJAX and other Web 2.0 features, but never seem to go beyond the Web 1.0 search tools.  Siderean Software Inc. believes they have the answer with their Seamark Navigator search software.  Siderean claims that want separates Seamark Navigator apart from the rest of the the other search software is that it uses relational navigation as opposed to relying on keyword search or guided navigation.  What caught my attention though was how ComputerWorld described the product.