Tuesday, August 16, 2016

An Update on the Status of Brexit

While the media buzz around Brexit has dialed down somewhat in recent weeks, the actual events that will lead Great Britain out of the European Union are just now beginning to take effect. Britain’s Prime Minister Theresa May has made the official departure a top priority, and while she has taken some criticism for her role in the divorce between the two entities, she seems to be handling things rather well considering. However, in the wake of the Brexit decision, there have been some clear economic consequences, such as lower hiring rates, and the British Pound’s decline, even during the vote to leave. Meanwhile, according to Express (UK), the staffing required in launching the Brexit and International trade departments to make Britain’s departure occur is still in the early stages, with one department having only about 100 of the required 1,000 or more. In order for Britain to have a healthy economy following Brexit, they will need to get more serious about actually cutting ties and getting on their feet. It will not just happen overnight and without hard work.

In addition to the need to swiftly and accurately break with the European Union, Britain will have to take measures to shore up their limping economy. According to multiple Irish news agencies, the actual date of departure from the EU is not likely to be until 2019, nearly three years away. However, the repercussions of the decision to leave the EU are being felt now in the UK. So the benefits of Brexit will not actually come for another three years, meanwhile, the consequences are an issue now. In order to deal with this, the current pace of events will have to be increased, and the British government will need to make a more focused effort on completing the break, as well as mitigating the drawbacks and negative results that are being experienced in the UK right now, in advance of the rift.

While Brexit is not entirely a bad idea, and the United Kingdom does stand to gain from being separated from the European Union, I think the current state of affairs should be considered unacceptable by their government, and they should certainly do something to light a fire under the agencies who are most responsible for the proper execution of their departure from the EU. If the process drags out then it will quickly become a disaster, and there will not be much benefit from Brexit in the first place.

When all is said and done, Britain will be alright, provided they take seriously the task they have taken upon themselves. Without a sense of urgency, what could have been a great success might prove to be just as the critics feared.

Monday, August 15, 2016

Apple's Bug Bounty Program

While many tech companies have established the so-called “bug bounty” as an industry standard, it seems strange that a company like Apple, a true technology giant always years ahead of its time, was so late to the table in this regard. While many large tech companies have offered rewards to users who identified and/or offered fixes to flaws in their products for years, Apple only began to offer the bug bounties on the heels of the incident in San Bernardino, in which the FBI requested Apple create a back-door into the iPhone so that they might be able to access the iPhone of a mass shooter. The controversy over this event made major waves, with Apple refusing to comply with what they saw as a huge threat to the privacy of citizens. On the other hand, they were dealing with a unique incident involving the investigation of a terror attack, which led some to condemn Apple for refusing to assist the FBI. In any case, in the wake of this tragedy, Apple felt compelled to begin a bug bounty program, rewarding those who identified and resolved issues in Apple systems.

One of the huge advantages of the bug bounty system for the company is that it saves them the time and effort of locating bugs themselves. With the inordinate task of locating every bug in every system released, they would be entirely overwhelmed. Instead, the cost of identifying these issues is drastically reduced and, if the bugs are fixed, even more time is saved. It really seems like an easy decision for any company, despite the long time that it took Apple to get with the program. Now that they are on board with the whole bug bounty concept, I am sure they will find it very beneficial and it will help them to focus much more attention on fixes rather than finding the problems.

On the other hand, it is also good for the consumers, as they can actually play a role in solving a problem that they themselves have experienced, as well as many others. When such an act is incentivized monetarily it tends to become more popular, but this is hardly a bad thing. It will also generate more interest in learning how to fix bugs that users might experience, and make users more self-reliant and better capable of handling technological issues they might experience in other areas.

With all of the advantages a bug bounty system creates, it is hard to argue with its implementation. And while it certainly took Apple a very long time to participate in this rather common practice, the fact that they do now is a great sign, and, hopefully, it will prove to be a mutually beneficial arrangement for both Apple and Apple users.

Monday, August 8, 2016

To Link or Not To Link

We live in an age of media. With smart devices in nearly every pocket or purse, the idea of “availability” has taken on a whole new meaning; there is no way to get around that. Almost everyone everywhere has some form of a smart device whether it is a tablet, smart phone, an iPod with Wi-Fi connection, or even a smart watch to alert them when they receive an incoming call or a text message.

It used to be that unless an individual was physically in their office or at home, they were “out of the office” or simply, “unavailable” to take a call or answer their emails. Now, most of us have a home phone, an in-office work phone, a personal cell phone, and, newest of them all, an email account that can alert your smart device whenever you receive an incoming message. It is almost virtually impossible to be unable to get a hold of someone unless they turn their email or text message alerts off or on silent.

So it beckons the question: “Should my work email be attached to my personal cell phone?”

There are definitely pros and cons to this particular inquiry, and we have taken the liberty to discuss some of those pros and cons to help you decide where you stand on the matter.

If work is at the very top of your priority list, then having your work email alert you on your personal cell phone whenever you get a message is a great tool. It allows the freedom to get out of the office to go for a walk, grab some coffee, or to work from home once work hours are over if need be. Another pro is that it allows for instant recall of important information before meeting with clients or important prospects- all of the information they sent you is right there in your work email and is available to you anywhere you are. It also allows for you to be able to go on extended vacation without having to worry about what is going on back at the office. You will be able to connect with your important clients from wherever you are, therefore making them feel important and of utmost priority to you.

If family, however, is at the top of your priority list, or if you become easily stressed out when it feels like work follows you wherever you go, then having your work email attached to your personal cell phone may not be the best choice for you. It has the potential to offer the picture that you are always working and cannot focus on what matters to your significant other, kids, or loved ones. It also has the potential to cause significant stress during your time off and may interfere with the rest and relaxation you desperately need. Unless you are someone with incredible discipline to be able to separate “work” from “family time” or “independent introvert time”, then it may be best for you to unlink your email from your personal cell phone and leave responding to work emails for whenever you are actually at work.  

Either way, it truly depends on what values stand highest on your personal priority totem pole and it also depends on what you truly want most out of life. If being available 100% of the time to your clients is the most important thing to you, then linking your work email and your cell phone is great! But if you, however, truly need time away from the office to recharge and invest in other things, then having your work email and your personal cell phone linked may be unwise.