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Last Build Date: Wed, 26 Feb 2014 20:40:08 +0000


Comment on How Microsoft’s Board nullified Gates, boosted Nadella, and set a positive tone for the next 10 years by Jeremiah Dunham

Wed, 26 Feb 2014 20:40:08 +0000

This is a thoughtful and well-written post. A close friend of mine who works in Microsoft Research told me that employees are almost unanimously excited about their new boss. I look forward to seeing how it plays out.

Comment on Chromebook Awesome: The Chromebook no one’s built yet by Tim

Mon, 17 Feb 2014 04:21:50 +0000

You are spot on! I tried a Samsung Chromebook a year ago and returned it within a week due to the poor screen. Every few months I look for a "real" Chromebook and return home empty-handed due to this or that component being unsatisfactory...mostly the screen. I am truly baffled at not being able to find 13 to 17 inch models with high quality screen in the $300 to $700 range.

Comment on When it comes to Google Apps, I’m certifiable by @jmproffitt

Sun, 09 Jun 2013 07:05:00 +0000

Thanks for your comments, John. I tend to agree that a HIPAA Business Associate Agreement (BAA) with Google is not technically required, assuming you use their services appropriately and given their architecture. However, their failure to sign BAAs is something that will give most risk-averse organizations pause, to say the least. HIPAA regulatory interpretation is an art rather than a science, and a BAA goes a long way to showing regulators you did your best to protect your information assets. A Google BAA would prove you tried to CYA. ;-) Of course, with the revelations this week that Google and other tech firms have been deeply cooperating with the NSA, I suspect the fears over using cloud services like Google Apps in a healthcare environment will be raised. It's too bad, really.

Comment on When it comes to Google Apps, I’m certifiable by John Kraft

Sat, 01 Jun 2013 16:37:30 +0000

As both a Google Apps Reseller, and CIO of a large medical clinic that has made the leap to using Google apps, not only for email, but as the document storage back-end for patient documents (everything that was paper... not the certified electronic medical records) I have done a lot of research on the Google Apps / HIPAA topic, and feel there is a strong argument to be made in favor of leveraging this infrastructure in the health care space. Our position is that: 1) Because of the way Google is structured, the way the Google File System is engineered, and the strict separation Google maintains between themselves as an infrastructure provider, and their enterprise customers who use the infrastructure, Google does not rise to the level of being considered a Business Associate under HIPAA definitions. 2) Even if one were to concede that Google is a Business Associate under HIPAA, the standard user agreement, combined with the other published documentation surrounding Google Apps enterprise privacy and security policies and practices more than satisfactorily covers all aspects of a "Business Associate agreement or Other arrangement" within the HIPAA context. The point I disagree on is the statement that Google needs to publish a position on HIPAA compliance, or start signing BAAs with their health care customers, like Microsoft does. First, Google is not a Coved Entity under HIPAA, and no product or service can claim HIPAA compliance. Second, if they were to start signing BAAs with their customers, they would cross the separation boundary of being an infrastructure provider that operates as a conduit through which Covered Entities manage their own protected data and information. Google's responsibility ends with publishing their own security and privacy practices, so that customers using the infrastructure can meet the regulatory requirements of whatever industry they operate in. It is up to the Covered Entity to make sure they are in compliance with appropriate regulation. Google provides all kinds of tools to help with that effort.

Comment on When it comes to Google Apps, I’m certifiable by @jmproffitt

Tue, 28 May 2013 19:13:33 +0000

Excellent questions Robert! I know exactly what you're talking about when it comes to Google Docs and making sure documents remain accessible to a team after an employee leaves. But there is a solution, built-in to Google Apps and available by using third party management tools. For example, when an employee leaves, they may have created Google Docs that other folks need or that simply need to be transferred to that employee's manager or their replacement. In the Google Apps dashboard you can do this in one step. It's called "Document ownership transfer" and it allows you to name the source user and the destination user. With one click, all the ownership transfers from one account to another, and nothing is deleted. This includes both shared and private documents. If you did not have an idea of where to send documents for a departing user, you could also create a dummy or "holding" account that gets all transferred documents. As an administrator, you would have access to that account and could search for anything that others need. Then manually change ownership on each document as needed. This is more labor-intensive, but it's a good fall-back position if you want to preserve documents at all costs. If you don't want to use the Google Apps dashboard to handle on-boarding and termination of employees, you can use a tool like FlashPanel. That's a slick way to handle many of these transition events in a company. Right now FlashPanel is still free, but they'll start charging for it sometime soon. All that said, I don't recommend moving completely over to Drive if you already have shared folders on a local server. There's a lot to be said for "public" drives or departmental drives stored right there at your location. Speed is one. And the fact is, most people still prefer to use Microsoft Word and Excel and so on. As for things like therapist notes, I don't think I'd store those in any online fashion unless they could be stored in your EHR or practice management system (which you may or may not have). I'm leery of storing PHI (Protected Health Information) or really any customer information in cloud services. At least so far. Some folks have no worries about that (and in truth the security of Google Docs / Drive is actually remarkably good), but cloud hosting of PHI is still rare. One last comment... You may want to consider whether sharing freely-editable therapist notes via a local file server meets HIPAA guidelines. One of the things you're required to be able to do is produce an audit trail of who accessed which records and who changed what. That's hard to do with a local file server, and it's why EHRs are really helpful, despite their extreme cost.

Comment on When it comes to Google Apps, I’m certifiable by Robert Zech

Tue, 28 May 2013 18:41:09 +0000

John, I am not on the certification path, but found your article helpful. We have a physical therapy practice and have google apps mostly to escape Exchange. We have not made much use of docs because the file ownership and sharing. We have staff changes and it does not affect the clinic as the documents are stored in directories with the topical names such as billing, therapist notes, marketing etc. Access to the directories is determined by the users group privileges. That is a therapist can see the therapist notes but not the billing information. When staff changes we can add or delete the user and nothing else changes. In Google Docs the document ownership is by creator and would cause all kind of control problems in the clinic. Each creator will make different directories and file similar documents in unusual places. A change in staff will require knowledgeable people to open, read and refile each document. etc... Are there any guidelines or "role models" for a health care clinic such as ours? Thanks

Comment on When it comes to Google Apps, I’m certifiable by @jmproffitt

Sat, 04 May 2013 06:50:50 +0000

I'll see if I can answer your questions...
  • On my exam (it changes a little over time) there were definitely a few Domino migration questions. But if you read the study materials completely, and can memorize some of the unusual Domino terms, you should be fine even if you've never worked with Domino or Notes.
  • For the API questions, you definitely need to know a few things, but the exam is definitely geared toward Administrators and not Developers. The key is to know what is possible through the APIs, and the Study Guide points you to all the web sites you need to review and understand. You also have to be able to "apply" that knowledge, by sort of solving word problems in the exam by figuring out which APIs you can access and in some cases chain together to solve common Google Apps challenges -- usually involved in migration and coexistence situations (usually with Exchange).
  • Take note that Google does not have a well-organized set of sites to deal with your self-paced training and test prep. You really have to follow every link and look around to find things. For example, just 3 days before my exam I discovered a new resource, the 200-level class that previously had been listed as an in-person class only. Now you can take it online for a small fee, in which they created a "lab" of pre-configured servers specifically for the class. With only 3 days to go, I skipped out on using that resource (and still passed). But if I was starting over, I'd pay the fees for the test environments and labs to ensure I actually practiced ahead of the exam.
  • There's no replacement for the experience of actually migrating real users from Exchange to Google Apps using GAMME in particular. You can probably pass the exam without having done that work, but boy does doing a real-world migration teach you some things you won't learn in an online course.
Good luck with your studies!

Comment on When it comes to Google Apps, I’m certifiable by abesster

Sat, 04 May 2013 03:53:49 +0000

Hey John, I did a search in twitter for “Google Apps Deployment Specialist” and I found you! I have been studying to take the exam for a while but I am a little bit nervous and don’t know if I am ready to take it. I believe I am lacking with Domino Server knowledge, and I have no experience programming API's. Can you give me some advises, tips, or recommendations? (or maybe paid online classes?!) hehe!

Comment on Lose a laptop with 441 patients’ records, pay $50,000 and pray for donations by Desperately seeking a HIPAA-compliant Ford Mustang | Gravity Medium

Tue, 08 Jan 2013 19:10:25 +0000

[...] the harrowing account of a hospice in northern Idaho being slapped with a $50,000 fine for 411 breached patient records, it’s good to see that even the big players — the biggest in the industry — screw [...]

Comment on On seeking trust in public media by Adam Schweigert (@aschweig)

Mon, 30 Jan 2012 22:15:31 +0000

Just asked Michael if he knows the median age of the panel that came up with these recommendations. My guess is that it's about what one would expect. That is to say, this document represents one particular point of view, and that's a shame. It's worthwhile to have these discussions, but perhaps the process could have been more useful with a few new faces at the table instead of just the usual suspects.

Comment on Leaving KETC: It Was Just One of Those Things by Kristin Spack

Wed, 07 Jul 2010 01:46:39 +0000

Hey John - This is a great post filled with tons of great advice. I really like what you wrote about feeling "at home" at your job. This has always been something that has been extremely important to me, despite the fact I've worked so far away from home (Boston) since college. Without that feeling of home or safety, its impossible to be the best that you can be, particularly creatively. I know that's why I left Denver and moved up to AK. I'm so glad you're coming back!

Comment on Leaving KETC: It Was Just One of Those Things by Jeanne Rhea

Sun, 20 Jun 2010 19:25:55 +0000

This was a great post and I just now ran across it going from one link to the next. Good luck back in Alaska and I'm going to be passing this link along.

Comment on Leaving KETC: It Was Just One of Those Things by North to the Future |

Sun, 20 Jun 2010 08:46:09 +0000

[...] The news is getting out, slowly, via Twitter. I’m returning to Alaska after a failed experiment in St. Louis. [...]

Comment on Leaving KETC: It Was Just One of Those Things by The End « It Came from the North

Sun, 20 Jun 2010 08:17:17 +0000

[...] story of moving south from Alaska did not end well. But it has ended. And now, so has this [...]

Comment on Parting (cannon) shot at WNET by John Proffitt

Thu, 03 Jun 2010 18:21:24 +0000

Thanks for the comment Beth. What you describe matches up with what others have said about the management changes at WNET, some privately, some publicly. Sounds like it was a bad deal all around for those that had dedicated themselves to the institution. Sad to hear. Unfortunately, there are lots of CEOs out there with a similar mindset: make a mark, make a name for myself, never mind the history or the "little people." Boards do a great disservice to their nonprofit organizations when they hire "hero" CEOs rather than public servants.

Comment on Parting (cannon) shot at WNET by Beth

Wed, 02 Jun 2010 22:04:11 +0000

I am getting to this conversation late because I was out of the country for a few weeks but would love to weigh in on what Sam's letter was really about. I have been a PBS fan & viewer all my life. Without Sesame Street, Frontline, Nature and American Masters I would be far less informed then I am today. I also worked at WNET for 7 years. I loved telling people I worked there, loved the people I worked with and for, and was proud to be part of the system even in my very small role. What happened during the year I left was disturbing and destructive. We went from the dedicated, genuine, caring and integrity driven leadership of Paula Kerger to management that came in, hired lots of con$ultant$ instead of doing any meaningful work, insulted and lied to staff, fired anyone who doesn't walk the same line, created chaos, destroyed morale and moved on leaving a path of destruction for others to clean up. We also went from Bill Baker who I adored and admired to Mr. Shapiro who, while he has lots to be proud of in his professional history, didn't get how PBS stations work. He wanted a vanity project and got it in World Focus, a complete waste in my opinion. So much money was poured down the drain with that program, and the new studios at Lincoln Center that my last visit to WNET looked like a ghost town. Rows and rows of empty desks where dedicated staff used to sit and do great work. Yes, the economy has not been good, layoffs were bound to happen. But WNET would have done better if not for such waste. I remain a dedicated viewer. I believe in WNET and the shows it produces. I remain friends with people I worked with there. I want success for all public media, and I would like to see a management team that cares about integrity. None of us every worked for WNET to get rich. We worked there to be part of something unique, rich with culture and vibrant staff, to be part of a station we were proud of. While recent events have torn some of the luster away, I believe WNET still plays a vital role in PBS and New York city. We just need someone who really cares about what is best for the station, not best for his or her ego.

Comment on Parting (cannon) shot at WNET by John Proffitt

Tue, 01 Jun 2010 15:34:46 +0000

Nailed it! And I should point out for other readers that you, Ken, are not some 20-something kid fresh out of college and born into the Internet era. So if *you're* doing this, then the future for public TV (indeed, all TV) is at risk. As for your CNN comments -- I'm completely with you. That channel, and so many others, do not have relevant media to share with me except on rare instances. And when said media is worthy of my attention (and the attention of millions of others), then it's guaranteed to be available on multiple platforms -- including the web. I've recently started using Netflix streaming to my iPad. That plus rental DVDs, purchased DVDs, gaming, social media and so forth... I don't need traditional TV any longer. PBS should strike deals with Netflix, setup 4 national cable channels (a la C-SPAN) and let the stations figure out what they want to do to survive (hopefully focus locally).

Comment on Parting (cannon) shot at WNET by Ken Jones

Tue, 01 Jun 2010 07:52:36 +0000

Hi John, I don't work for PBS but have been a consistent viewer, or was for twenty years or so. It seems that you have received responses to your first two questions. I want to comment as a "general public" person who doesn't watch PBS television any more. There may be more of a core issue than the poor scheduling and elitist programming. Namely, the increasing irrelevance of television to lifestyle choices. Television is becoming the Farmville of the airways. I didn't stop watching PBS directly. I stopped watching cable altogether. I remember very specifically when I turned cable off. It was about six years ago when CNN's hottest story was a warehouse fire in West Virginia. Nobody was hurt. There was just a big fire, and CNN covered it live - every ten minutes for an hour an a half. As someone living in Alaska, a warehouse fire in West Virginia does not warrant ten seconds of my time. That was the precise moment that I called to have the cable removed. I have never missed not having it. My point is that it is not just PBS that has a viewer problem. PBS is a cable channel, or a network channel. Interruption broadcasting, whether it is commercials or regular, irrelevant programming is something that has become increasingly easy to filter out. While reviewing some of the research about reading habits on social media two numbers struck me. First, the average time a viewer spends on a headline is 1.57 seconds. If a person actually clicks on the headline, the average time spent reading the article is 5.2 seconds. This is dynamic filtering. It is relevance focused filtering. When I do watch PBS it is shows I select, at times I select, about content that is relevant. I watch PBS programs on the computer. If PBS wants be begin to take steps to get through the relevance filters it could start with making archived content available at a central location that gathered content from PBS stations nation-wide. The issue is consumer choice. I don't think that PBS gets that at all. I sure do like watching some of the content though - when I feel like it.

Comment on Parting (cannon) shot at WNET by John Proffitt

Thu, 27 May 2010 00:15:24 +0000

Thanks for the comment, Michael. I think the kids programming on PBS is probably the most important part of what PBS does today, and it's the best work done for the network as a whole. Frontline and the NewsHour are also important, but only Frontline really illuminates public affairs issues well, because it's got a longer production cycle where shooters and editors can get at the story without the he-said-she-said nonsense the guests often bring to the NewsHour. And don't get me started on pledge programming! One part of your comment really stuck out for me: "Does PBS have core values similar to that of public radio? If so, where are they? And, are they being implemented?" I think PBS has some overlapping core values with NPR, but PBS has SO MANY core values that they can't do any of them well. PBS needs a mission and operations reboot, from the stations to the network and back again. NPR at least has the news focus as a primary mission. They also have some mission creep issues, but so far they've been able to stay close enough to news to retain a clear core purpose. I just wish people would talk more openly about the problems the stations and the network face and would consider more radical models for going forward. There's a need for public service television in the 21st century, but PBS is not fulfilling that need consistently right now.

Comment on Parting (cannon) shot at WNET by Michael Krall

Wed, 26 May 2010 16:39:31 +0000

***I’d bet you real money that if you did a survey of employees at public radio and television stations across the country and got honest and accurate answers, you would find very little public television viewing. At one station I knew well, some employees who worked fervently every day to support public TV didn’t even own a TV themselves. Others just didn’t watch much TV of any kind, and if they did, public TV was a minor component of their viewing. I don’t fully understand why this is, but that’s been my experience to date. (If your experience is different, let me know!)**** As someone who has worked in public radio my entire career, currently I watch more public television than I've done in previous years. Part of that is because I don't have cable or satellite. But part of it is also because I now get two additional digital channels as well. As a father of two, I trust PBS in their children's programming. Personally, I could watch the always-charming Ruff Ruffman everyday and not get sick of it. Occasionally we all watch something on Nature, American Experience, Antiques Roadshow, History Detectives or even a cooking show. I'll watch Frontiline and the occasional special as well. Ken Burns could make a 10-part series on the history of cement and I'd watch it. So for me, the question is will program XX contribute to making PBS indispensable? Some programs, yes. Other programs not so much Due I believe to competition, but also I sense an overriding feeling of "we've always done it this way". There are hundreds of programs out there -- some legacy, some not. But, my point is that some just don't belong on public television anymore. Does PBS have core values similar to that of public radio? If so, where are they? And, are they being implemented? Not only that, but program schedules can be so erratic, who knows if a core PBS program will be on at the same time week after week. Don't even get me started on the pledge drives where we see programs (such as it were) that we never see during any other time of the year. So say these programs fall short of making PBS indispensable, is being generous at best. Just once, I'd like to know the facts of what it takes to get Frontline on the air. Also, having lived in 5 states, I can tell you that the look and feel of some local PBS affiliates just doesn't match that of the network. The little stuff -- promos and station ID's - it actually matters what they look like.