Juvenile Diabetes – An Ultimate Management Challenge Friday, Feb 27 2009 

When I was a teenager (don’t laugh, it happened), my primary worries were sports, girls, academics, and sports. My toughest management decisions centered around which socks to wear for the game and whether or not I was getting an “A” on my next test. Unfortunately, my daughter is not having a similar experience. Her life revolves around managing and monitoring her blood sugar, thyroid levels, and gluten-free diet. At 16, I thought sugar in the blood came from drinking too much Dr. Pepper and I had no idea what a thyroid was or that gluten even existed.

I am proud of my daughter. Despite the curve ball she has been unexpectedly pitched, she is still in there hitting (okay, had to put in the baseball metaphor – sports is still in my blood). After nearly two years, she has mastered more about managing her physical health than I have in more than 40 years. The complexities are numerous (e.g. calculating carbohydrates and insulin ratios, monitoring blood sugar levels, anticipating activity level vs. insulin needs, reading labels on everything you plan to eat).

Here are some facts about Type 1 juvenile diabetes from a recent article on Galesburg.com:

More than 15,000 U.S. children are diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes each year – about 40 children a day. Nationwide, as many as 3 million Americans may have the disease, according to the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation, which notes that it is the most costly chronic disease, accounting for $174 billion in healthcare costs in 2007. Many millions more – nearly 24 million – have Type 2 diabetes, a metabolic disorder often linked to obesity.

Unlike Type 2 diabetes, Type 1 is an autoimmune disorder. The pancreas stops producing insulin, the hormone that allows people to convert food into energy. While taking insulin shots allows people with Type 1 diabetes to live, it doesn’t prevent the eventual and devastating effects, including possible kidney failure, blindness, nerve damage, amputations, heart attacks, stroke and pregnancy complications.

Life expectancy for people with diabetes is shortened by seven to 10 years, and the risk of death is about two times greater than that of people without the disease.

Like the mother in the above article, I have to believe that a cure will be found for my daughter.

Microsoft’s Live@edu – Winning Over the College Crowd Wednesday, Feb 25 2009 

Microsoft continues its effort to win over the college crowd with Microsoft Live@edu. The University of Colorado announced that is is switching from Mirapoint to Live@edu. The main attraction? It’s hosted and free.

What is the benefit to Microsoft? There are two primary benefits:

1. This is a strategic method Microsoft has used for many years – capture the next generation workforce as end users before they enter the workforce. I remember my university switching from WordPerfect to Microsoft Office in the early 90s because Microsoft gave the university a fantastic deal.

2. Microsoft needs to rapidly build its experience and capabilities around hosted e-mail on a mass scale in a more enterprise-like environment. Google is gaining traction in the small and medium business markets with Gmail and poses a potential future threat as a competitor for future enterprise hosted e-mail. The university environment is an excellent place to gain this experience with less risk.

Instant Messaging Interchange? Monday, Feb 23 2009 

One of the challenges for enterprises when implementing instant messaging is to decide whether or not to connect their enterprise instant messaging (EIM) solution with other instant messaging solutions. In order to make the connection, a gateway is generally implemented that permits the exchange of IM messages – providing the EIM solution selected has a gateway that supports the connection and translation required with the other IM system(s).

Thomson Reuters recently announced their launch of Reuters Messaging (RM) Interchange , a service which allows an enterprise to connect with other EIM systems. The service is currently limited to connecting Cisco’s Jabber XCP, IBM Lotus’ Sametime, and Microsoft’s LCS/OCS – although those are the big three in the enterprise instant messaging and unified communications market.

The idea of an IM interchange is interesting, but ultimately, vendors need to implement the standards (XMPP and SIP/SIMPLE) for the benefit of their customers and the technology. It has been said many times by many different people – IM messages should be as easy to exchange as e-mail and telephone. While the standards are only one barrier (others include security, compliance, directory, and controls) to interoperability, implementing them would hasten the fall of the rest.

It will be interesting to see how Reuters Messaging (RM) Interchange does in the market, as it solves the IM communication problem that the vendors have not fully addressed – but for a price.


The Energy Policy Act of 2005 Friday, Feb 20 2009 

While you may not be able to explain the contents of this act off the top of your head, the impact of this Act is known by every person living in the U.S. This act amended the Uniform Time Act of 1966 to increase daylight savings time in the spring by changing its start date from the first Sunday in April to the second Sunday in March, and in the fall by changing its end date from the last Sunday in October to the first Sunday in November. The justification for this portion of the Energy Policy Act of 2005 was that it would save energy.

This last October, the Department of Energy released its report of the impacts of Extended Daylight Saving Time on the national energy consumption. The report can be found here, but the gist of it is that the total electricity savings is .03 percent of electricity consumption in the U.S. over the year.

The good news? The change worked and energy was saved. How well it worked depends upon how significant you think .03 percent savings is in relation to the effort. The report didn’t cover economic impacts. Calendars in e-mail solutions are still suffering from the change, as the major collaboration vendors had to scramble to get patches into place to account for the changes. Going forward, most vendors were clever enough to change their code to prevent future issues, but problems still linger.

The effort by IT shops to implement the necessary patches and user education for Extended Daylight Saving Time must have had a monumental cost. Unfortunately, that study hasn’t been completed. But, at least the effort was not in vain.