Thursday, November 19, 2009

What is an acceptable use policy? Who decides what constitutes acceptable use? What can happen if you violate an acceptable use policy?

Acceptable use policies are relatively new in the emerging world of technology in the workplace. As corporations/universities/small businesses are forced to provide services to their employees/students, a set of rules governing the use of these services needed to be developed. These “Acceptable Use Policies”, or AUP’s, are designed to denote what is allowed and what is not allowed in the use of technology services. Traditionally the entity providing these services is the one to determine what they consider to be acceptable use. This is usually ratified via written or verbal understanding on the part of the user. Once in place, all users of the services provided are expected to adhere to the definition of acceptable use. When an AUP is violated, a punishment is usually outlined within the AUP itself. Violations are usually dealt with according the their severity, but repercussions can range from temporary loss of user privileges, all the way to lawsuit and imprisonment in the case of larger corporations. Any person using technology based services from their employer or university should be sure they are clear on the AUP in place and be familiar with the potential punishments for violation.

Is Bigger Better?

As the airline industry continues to struggle through the problems of decreased ticket sales and increased operating costs, one must wonder if bigger is better in both fleet size as well as aircraft size. Boeing (NYSE: BA) just released photos of their first 747-8, their latest version of one of the most successful wide-body jetliners in the world. However, as aircraft grow in size and capacity, the demand for smaller more specific routes increases. Airlines are having to accommodate more and more to passengers who don’t want to conform to the “hub to hub” nature of airlines. Customers don’t want to have to drive hours to a hub just to fly to a destination hub where another long drive awaits them before their journey is complete. Because of this, regional airlines have seen a surge of interest over the past decade. Smaller aircraft flying into smaller airfields have seen marked increases in interest. Sales have soared for the increasingly popular CRJ (Canadair Regional Jet) and similar ERJ (Embraer Regional Jet), aircraft which specialize in transporting smaller numbers of passengers to smaller service airstrips at commercial airline speeds. With the decrease of “layovers” and “plane changes” and the increase of direct flights, one must wonder if massive 500+ passenger jets aren’t flying themselves into obsoleteness.

What are two advantages of social networks?

Social Networking has erupted over the past decade due to the relative banishment of physical limitations such as time and distance. Compared to the days of non-digital correspondence, social networking allows for relatively instantaneous communication with friends/family/acquaintances all over the world. Very few people would take the time on their own to maintain contact with hundreds of friends, some of whom they haven’t physically seen in years. With social networking, all of the above can be done with the click of a button, and a scroll of the mouse. Such contact has benefits as well. Society has become much more intertwined digitally, and information dissemination as improved exponentially. When a single person creates or disseminates a piece of information, it is likely to be available to hundreds if not thousands of people instantly, thus resulting in the modern phenomenon of information going “viral”. Compared to decades past, a single person today has the potential to spread a piece of information to nearly the entire world within a day.

Are you more or less likely to be misunderstood online? Why?

While the internet has developed as a marvelous networking and communications tool, it is still plagued by the very nature of textual conversation. All too often, the intent and nuances of the speaker are lost in the translation to a textual format. This can lead to ambiguous understandings of any single piece of information. Until we find a much more efficient way of communicating things like anger, humor, sarcasm, and more via text, misunderstandings will continue to be a logical side-effect of internet dealings.

Lost Luggage: It Happens!

While a lost bag is a large nuisance to any traveler, it can turn into a much larger nuisance to the airline itself. Just a few months ago an unsuspecting traveler reclaimed his guitar on the far side of his journey, but quickly discovered it wasn't in the condition he had left it. His anger towards United Airlines (NASDAQ:UAL) resulted in a You Tube video entitled "United Breaks Guitars". A few months and 5.8 million views later, United Airlines has to reap the repercussions of an otherwise minor event. In the grand scheme, it is a miracle in itself that so many pieces of luggage make it unharmed to their destinations every day. As if the current state of economic distress weren’t hard enough on airlines, worse so is the increasing demand for improved service and phenomenal customer satisfaction. Unfortunately these are exactly the services most major air-carriers are looking to cut back on just to stay above water. As sales continue to decrease due to a loss of customer satisfaction, the lesser the ability becomes for airlines to afford the fixes.

Outclimbing Recession

As economic woes continue to grow, it seems that airlines continue to become more and more desperate to outclimb the financial troubles of this recession. It may seem strange at first to imagine that the airline industry would ever be in a position so far into debt and bankruptcy, considering the sheer importance of the service provided. Every day thousands of people commute otherwise unreasonable distances thanks the efficient method of transportation that the airline industry provides. In a world that seems to be truly held together by commercial aviation, it’s a wonder that many airlines face the very real threat of extinction. Larger carriers such as United Airlines (NASDAQ:UAL) find themselves in a balancing game between Customer Satisfaction and Financial Feasibility. Last month, amid falling sales of Premium-level tickets, UAL began looking at the possibility of decreasing the number of seats onboard their aircraft that are designated for Premium service. They are also working on incentive programs to increase customer programs, such as their highly successful “Mileage Plus” program. With an aim to lower costs without sacrificing too much in the way of Customer Satisfaction, one can only wonder if some airlines have what it takes to outclimb this recession, and ultimately bankruptcy.