Monday, June 18, 2012

What will you leave behind: an inheritance or a legacy?

This isn't my usual technical post, but it is an interesting perspective on two technical titans. People who know me well know that I am not anti-Apple, but I am not a huge fan. They would also know that I used to be very ANTI Bill Gates, but have commented more recently on how he is a shining example of a man who became a better human being with the partnership of a wonderful woman. In any case...I didn't write this post, I just edited the article a bit for brevity...

Two people stand out as supreme examples of success in our generation.

Steve Jobs and Bill Gates certainly made more money than anyone of us can ever realistically contemplate acquiring. They are paradigms of the entrepreneurial spirit. They reached the pinnacle of wealth, fame and prominence. Both are men of tremendous achievement. Jobs gave us Apple, and Gates gave us Microsoft. Their brilliance was responsible for stunning technological breakthroughs that have literally changed the world. While Jobs tragically passed away last year and Gates is thankfully still alive, we could surely assume that both will have earned lasting legacies that will make them be long remembered.

That's why I found it so incredible to learn what Malcolm Gladwell believes is in store for their memories. To be fair, Gladwell isn't a prophet and the future may very well prove him greatly mistaken. But it's certainly worth considering the views of this very influential author of The Tipping Point, Outliers and Blink, whose insights into cultural attitudes have made him a highly respected and influential analyst of contemporary society. As quoted in PC Magazine, Gladwell thinks that 50 years from now Steve Jobs will be no more than a minor footnote in the pages of history; Bill Gates, on the other hand, may well have statues erected in his honor in countries around the globe. The reason for the difference? Jobs was a business genius. He built a company like no other. He left us with incomparable products. Gates went beyond that. He reached a time in life when making money and creating ever newer software wasn't as important as the charitable work he could do through his Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. And ultimately that is what gains us the eternal gratitude of generations that follow us.

Gladwell succinctly summarizes it this way: “I believe the future will ultimately remember tech giants more for what they gave back to society than for what they achieved business-wise.” Success isn't defined by what we manage to get, but rather by what we are able to give. And that's true even if we’re not in a position to start a foundation or to embark upon the kinds of projects that only a billionaire can tackle. We need to remember that legacies are created during our lifetimes. The key to achieving greatness is to be responsible for something that outlives us. Horace Mann put it beautifully when he said, "Be ashamed to die until you have achieved some victory for humanity."

Whether we have sufficient funds to create a foundation or just the means to give a little bit back to the world into which we were born and from which we derive so much, the true test of our character is always how much we are willing to do to justify the gift of our lives.

derived from an article by Rabbi Benjamin Blech that appeared on

Monday, March 26, 2012

Memory versus Storage - how much is enough?

One of the most common points of confusion I encounter with clients regards the difference between memory and storage. Many people use the term "memory" to refer to the space on their hard drive and view that space as what limits the software they can run as well as the amount of files they can store. This is NOT the case and memory is actually very different from STORAGE.

Here's the way I usually explain it...

Imagine that your computer is a desk that has a desktop and file drawers. The top of your desk determines the number of things you can work on at the same time - the bigger the desktop, the more projects and folders you can have in process at the same time. The drawers determine how many files and folders you can store. The more drawer space you have, the more files you may have - and drawers store files more compactly than the desktop, so you can store a lot more in a drawer than flat on top of the desk.

MEMORY is like the surface of your desk - the more you have, the more programs and files you may have open at the same time. Memory or "RAM" (for Random Access Memory) typically is measured in even units of Gigabytes (a Gigabyte or 1GB equals one Billion bytes - or roughly the size of 200 to 300 songs on iTunes!). Modern computers typically come with RAM of 2GB, 4GB, 8GB or even more. It's tough to have too much RAM - especially on laptops.

STORAGE is like the size of your file drawers - the bigger they are, the more files they can hold. Storage is generally supplied by a hard disk or hard drive (these mean the same thing). Today's computers have hard drives with capacities measured in the HUNDREDS of Gigabytes (GB) and some computers may even have a TERABYTE (1TB) or more (that's a TRILLION bytes) - sufficient space to store more than 10,000 songs! Modern hard drives are so large that the majority of clients I see are using less than half of the storage they have available.

So if you are concerned about running many programs at once - perhaps surfing the Web, editing a document and a spreadsheet, flipping through photos, playing music, etc. - then make sure you have plenty of memory or RAM. Upgrading your RAM is very inexpensive, whether you do it yourself or hire a professional to do so. But unless you have an enormous amount of music, photos, or especially videos, almost any modern computer is going to have plenty of storage for your needs.