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The hidden dark side of today's hottest tech trends

Peter Wayner | June 14, 2013
New technologies and new IT strategies are here to solve all your problems — except the ones they create

BYOD also introduces significant incompatibilities across the IT fleet in that few employees will install the same software in the same way, let alone on the same hardware models. If Chris's Mac breaks, Chris won't want to borrow Pat's PC. And Pat will definitely not want to loan her laptop to Chris, especially if the company doesn't subsidize its BYOD policy. Pat may be a team player, but she isn't anyone's fool. What if Chris clicks on the wrong link and gives Pat a virus? The only thing worse than the rigid fascism of some IT shops is the absolute chaos of stepping blindly into BYOD.

The hidden dark side of crowdfunding
There's a building in Washington filled with thousands of attorneys who together call themselves the Securities Exchange Commission. That agency was built over decades because fast-talking, glad-handing peddlers of big dreams are always trying to sell a "piece of the action" to the public without delivering. Stockbrokers were the original crowdfunding hucksters, and the SEC has been trying to corral them ever since.

While everyone wants to believe it's different this time, there's no reason why crowdfunding sites won't experience the same kind of shady dealings, miscalculations, and outright fraud that has marred Wall Street.

The smart people are treating their investments in the cool gadgets as Lotto tickets that may or may not pay off. They're not spending money they can't lose.

The hidden dark side of tablets as PC replacements
Some folks just love to waltz into a conference room with a tablet and rave to any poor sucker with a laptop about how much they can accomplish with their new device. No more need for a desktop or even a laptop, they say, stabbing their fingers at the glass. This may be true if the only thing they do for work is browse the Web and generate short, semi-grammatical responses to emails.

Real writing demands a keyboard, and by the time you add a functional one to a tablet, it weighs about as much as a laptop. Real drawing requires the precision of a mouse and not some fat finger moving across a glass covered with a thin veneer of grease leftover from lunch.

Bigger problems lie deeper. The operating systems are often limited and the tablet companies keep the tablet operating systems as locked down as they can. Custom apps aren't easy to distribute, and they're harder to develop. Open source software is rare — partially because you're not supposed to do anything but download apps from the official store. Things are more open in the world of Android tablets, but that openness seems to help only the programmers who have the tools and wherewithal to root around beneath the veneer. In the tablet paradigm, the average person isn't supposed to understand files or how to do anything but push big buttons with fat fingers. Just be happy on the plantation built by the big corporations. Don't touch anything under the hood.


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