Category: Tech Notes

Poor Technology Decisions

One of the most frustrating situations that I run into as a technology evangelist is observing people make poor technology decisions. As a tech guy, I want to advocate for the best technology solution possible, but you always have to consider who will ultimately use the technology, how much will it cost to implement, and over time how will it perform. In truth there is no perfect technology solution, all solutions have their negatives and positives; the best that you can do is choose something which satisfies all the requirements and that people are comfortable with. However, before you run out and spend your budget, consider the following to see if your technology choices are the right ones for you.

Technology Solutions For People Problems

Ironically, technology cannot fix everything, but that does not stop people from trying to use it in situations where it does not fit. The prime example of this is when you have a group of people that need to communicate but choose not to. You usually find that for personal reasons people do not get along and this causes the process to breakdown. All problems break down into two categories: you either have a broken process or you have a people problem. Most decision makers tend to ignore the people problem and focus on the broken process and this is a big mistake. In this scenario, any technology decision will fail because the people problem was never resolved. If people do not get along and stand in the way of a great process, the process will still break down. The best thing to do is to focus on the people problem first and allow the people that will work the process to be part of the solution. Involve everyone and communicate, communicate, eventually the solution will become obvious to everyone.

The Perfect Technology

When choosing a solution from a vendor, you will always get a sales pitch about how wonderful this solution will be for you and how it is so customizable that you cannot afford not to choose it. No technology just works. Everything is designed to work a certain way, and it takes time to learn new technology no matter how awesome it is. Do not buy the sales pitch, instead be prepared to spend significant amount of time when adopting new technology and balance it against how productive or how profitable it will make your process and business.

Single Vision

All of our advances in society have come about because someone had the great vision and determination to create something, even if it was by accident. It is those achievements that propel us forward. When it comes to technology we stand on the shoulders of these great visionaries and we sometimes lose perspective because of our admiration for such and such person. As much as I love all things made by Apple, I need to retain some perspective. Just because I love Mac OS X, does not mean everyone has to love it the same way. The right technology solutions are not always the ones that I want. Ask yourself, does it make sense to buy an entire rack server or will something smaller work just as well? As technology advocates we love our toys, but you want to be careful that not all your technology choices are your technology choices.

Avoiding The Status Quo

The tech world runs in cycles. At one time, the network server was cool, then all of a sudden it is not as trendy, and now it is back. As a decision maker, you have to study the trends and know when it is time to jump off and adopt something outside the status quo. Sometimes the new trend is not going to end well, I’m thinking mostly about those cheap netbooks that everyone was so enamored with a few years ago. On the other side, the tablet is something that just works and you will need to include them in your strategic plans. You want to be an early adaptor who picks sound and effective technologies and yes that is a lot harder than it sounds.

Filed under: Project Management, Tech Notes

Flash Problems

Flash document iconOne of the major reasons Adobe bought out Macromedia was to get Flash. Without a doubt Flash is one of those technologies that makes the whole Internet experience that much more enjoyable for the end user. On the other hand, Flash can quickly become a headache when it does not work properly or if you are trying to work with it and it keeps changing. Given that I have put together the following list of resources and tips on dealing with Flash.

Flash Implementations:

The first thing to understand is that there are really two implementations of Flash. There is the Flash ActiveX control which is used by Microsoft Internet Explorer and the Flash Plug-in. Firefox and Safari use the Flash Plug-in and not the ActiveX control. The ActiveX control is the Flash9x.ocx file and the Plug-in is the Flashplayer.xpt file.

On Windows, Flash is installed to:

  • C:\WINDOWS\SYSTEM32\Macromed\Flash

On Mac OS X, Flash is installed to:

  • /Library/Internet Plug-Ins

Uninstalling Flash:

The best way to uninstall Flash from Windows and Mac OS X is to use Adobe’s own uninstaller. This can be downloaded from Adobe’s Tech Note 14157 page. Proving that nothing is easy on Windows, by default the Windows uninstaller does not remove registry entries. In order to wipe registry entries for Flash, you must run the uninstaller using a clean switch:

uninstall_flash_player.exe /clean

Installing Flash:

Since there are two implementations of Flash, there are essentially three installations of Flash. For IE (the ActiveX control), you can simply go to and look for the Get Flash Player logo and click on it. For other browsers, when you go to the page, it will instead download an installer for the Flash Plug-in. There is a third installer which is only for developers who want to include both the ActiveX control and Plug-in with their applications. You can usually download the latest installers here:

For testing purposes, Adobe does offer archived versions on their Tech Note 14266 page.

Once you have actually installed Flash, if needed you can also disable Flash Auto Update Notifications. This is done by creating a text file named mms.cfg and placing it in the following directories:

  • Windows XP: C:\WINDOWS\System32\Macromed\Flash
  • Mac OS X: \Application Support\Macromedia

The mms.cfg file should have: AutoUpdateDisable=1 to disable Auto Update Notifications. Information on doing this can be found on Adobe’s Tech Note 16701594 page.


Filed under: Tech Notes