Talent Development Centre

Category Archives: General

All general Talent Development Centre posts for Canadian technoloy contractors.

How to Get a Laugh From Your Google Assistant

Smart technology has become increasingly popular today. Many people rely on these devices for news, music and even setting alarms. But you can also have a bit of fun with these smart devices, like Google Home. Google Home is powered by AI and is typically referred to as Google Assistant. A video by TechGumbo highlights the top 100 commands you can give for funny or entertaining responses. So take a break, watch the video and make your Friday even better!

IT Industry News for October 2018

Kevin Dee By Kevin Dee,
Chairman of the Board at Eagle

This post first appeared on the Eagle Blog on November 3, 2018
Tech News Header

This is my 30,000 foot look at events in the Tech industry for October 2018.

What you see here is a précis of the monthly report I produce, which will be available in more detail at the News section of the Eagle website, where you will also find back issues.

A Little History of previous year’s Octobers …

Oracle logo a large software company originally noted for its databaseFive years ago in October 2013 Oracle announced two acquisitions, both “cloud-based companies: Big Machines (pricing and quote date for sales and orders) and Compendium (a content marketing company).  Other “names” out shopping included Avaya buying the software division of ITNavigator for its call centre and social media monitoring software; Rackspace bought ZeroVM a tech company with a software solution for the cloud; Intuit bought consulting company Level Up Analytics, primarily to acquire its talent; VMWare bought “desktop as a service” company Desktone; Netsuite bought human capital software company TribeHR; and Telus enhanced its mobile offering with the purchase of Public Mobile.

HP logoIn October 2014 we saw a new trend, with two public companies both choosing to split into smaller entities.  HP announced it was creating a business service focused Hewlett-Packard Enterprise and personal computing & printer company HP Inc.  Symantec also chose to split into two independent public companies, one focused on business and consumer security products, the other on its information management portfolio.  Other interesting news saw IBM pay $1.5 Billion to GlobalFoundries so it would take away its money losing semiconductor manufacturing business.  NEST bought competitor Revolv; EMC bought three cloud companies: The Cloudscaling Group, Maginatics and Spanning Cloud Apps; and in Korea, Kakao and Daum merged to form a $2.9 billion internet entity.

dell logoOctober 2015 brought some big deals with the biggest seeing Dell offer $26 billion to buy storage company EMC.  Interestingly, an EMC subsidiary, VMWare was also out shopping, picking up a small email startup, Boxer.  In another deal involving “big bucks”, Western Digital paid $19 billion for storage competitor Sandisk.  IBM were also writing a big cheque, paying $2 billion in a big data/internet of things play for The Weather Network (minus the TV operations), and IBM also picked up a storage company, Cleversafe.  Cisco paid $522.5 million for cybersecurity firm Lancope; LogMeIn paid $$110 million for LastPass; Trend Micro paid $350 million for next generation intrusion prevention systems company HP Tippingpoint; Red Hat picked up deployment task execution and automation company Ansible; Vasco Data Security paid $85 million for solution provider Silanis; and Apple bought a speech processing startup, VocalIQ.  As industries converged, it was interesting to see Securitas pay $350 million for Diebold’s US Electronic Security business.

In October 2016 there was not a lot of M&A action but Qualcomm paid $47 Billion for NXP Semiconductor.  The only other sizable deal saw Wipro pay $500 million for IT cloud consulting company Appirio.  Google picked up Toronto-based video marketing startup FameBit and Pivot Technology Solutions picked up Ottawa-based Teramach.

Cisco logoLast year in October 2017 Cisco paid $1.9 Billion for Broadsoft to improve Cisco’s software capabilities.  The only other significant deal saw Telus beef up its service provider capability with a $250 million purchase of Xavient.

Which brings us back to the present …

October 2018 was an interesting month, with some significant M&A activity and the sad passing of yet another tech pioneer, Paul Allen, who cofounded Microsoft with Bill Gates.

IBM logoOn the M&A front, IBM’s $34 billion acquisition of Red Hat was a game changer, leaping IBM to the top of the pack in the cloud systems arena… until the next mega deal!

It is a rare month when a $2 billion deal is eclipsed, but this month two of them look small next to the IBM deal!  In the red hot cybersecurity space PE company, Thoma Bravo paid $2.1 billion for Imperva.  Twillio also shelled out $2 billion to acquire email company SendGrid rounding out their API offerings.

Other deals saw Honeywell bolster its IoT offerings, paying $493 million for Transnorm; Palo Alto Networks is paying $173 million for security startup Redlock; Computacentre is paying $70 million for FusionStorm to grow its consulting business in North America; GTT Communications is paying $40 million for Access Point to add to its network; and Fortinet is spending $18 million for ZoneFox to improve its threat analytics capability.

ACCENTURE LOGOThere was plenty more M&A activity with big names involved.  Some of them include: Google (chatbot company Onwards); Accenture (DAZ systems); DXC (agodesign); Samsung (Zhilabs); CapGemini (June 21); and NTT Data (Sierra Systems).

Other companies in the news include Google who are closing their Google+ social network amid security concerns and Amazon who announced 1,000 new jobs in the UK.

On the economy and jobs front the news was generally positive around the world.  The US economy continues to steam roller along creating skill shortages and positive economic indicators; Canada’s economic indicators were generally positive and all around the world we hear of job growth and some areas of skills shortages.  Interesting that Japan is considering an incentive to bring blue collar labor to the country, and announced record numbers of women in the workforce among widespread labour shortages. Even when indicators drop, like the CEO confidence indicator it is still heavily in the positive … so CEOs around the world are generally confident, just marginally less confident than last month!

That’s what caught my eye over the last month.  The full edition will be available soon on the Eagle website.  Hope this was useful and I’ll be back with the November 2018 tech news in just about a month’s time.

 Until then, Walk Fast and Smile!

The Fascinating Science Behind a Pinball Machine

There’s no better way to go into a long weekend of awkward silences at family meals than to be armed with absolutely useless information. Well today’s video has just that AND the answers to questions that have been keeping you up at night.

Vox did some serious research and found world-renowned experts to create this informative video on the science of a pinball machine. If you want to be the next pinball wizard, or just want something different to say at this weekend’s Thanksgiving dinner, then this video is for you. It is super interesting, so at the very least, watching and sharing this video is the perfect way to spend your next five minute break.

Protect Yourself Online with These Tips from a Former Hacker

Monday’s infographic explaining the elements of a data security policy is helpful for organizations and those advising companies on best practices for their data. But individuals also need to think about cybersecurity and protect themselves from hackers. And what better way to defend against a hacker than to learn from one?

In this video from Tech Insider, a former NSA hacker explains some of his past tricks and shares some tips to protect yourself online. Some of these may be common sense, but in other situations, you may be creeped out by what these technology geniuses can accomplish.

Clean Your Office and Boost Productivity

Did you know that a typical office keyboard can carry up to 7,500 bacteria at any given time? That’s according to this infographic by Early to Rise, in addition to a few other disturbing facts. The fact is, aside from avoiding a disgusting environment, a clean office has also proven to boost productivity and lead to more success at the office. The infographic provides all of the details, plus some simple tips so you too can have a clean office!

How a Clean Office Helps Productivity

Here’s Why We Celebrate Labour Day Every Year

Every year, everyone always looks forward to the Labour Day long weekend because who doesn’t like an extra day off! But it’s not just a randomly given vacation day, Labour Day is observed internationally to celebrate the economic and social achievements of workers resulting from a labour union movement.

While some countries celebrate on May 1 (popularly known as May Day), here in Canada we celebrate on the first Monday of September. Labour Day in Canada can be traced all the way back to April 1872 when a parade was staged to support the Toronto Typographical Union’s strike against a 58-hour work-week. This was still viewed as a criminal act at the time and 24 union leaders were arrested.

However, labour leaders weren’t ready to give up. A similar demonstration was scheduled on September 3 of the same year to protest the arrests. This prompted our Prime Minister Sir John A. Macdonald to repeal the anti-union laws. The next year the Trade Union Act was passed. And in 1894, the Canadian Prime Minister, John Thompson, made Labour Day an official September holiday.

But enough of the history lesson! There are many parades and picnics organized by unions on Labour Day, but most Canadians see it as the Monday of the last long weekend of summer. Celebration activities typically include picnics, firework displays, water activities, and public art events. Families with children in school, also view this as the last chance to travel before the end of summer and school starts. And of course teenagers and young adults see Labour Day weekend as the perfect opportunity to have last-minute parties before they return to school. But no matter how you celebrate, remember the milestones workers have overcome since the 1800s and enjoy the long weekend!

Google Docs CAN Be Helpful… If You Know What You’re Doing

Unless you live under a rock, have an extreme aversion to everything Google or despise cloud technology, you’re already aware of Google Docs. It’s the word processor component of the Google office suite that allows you to create, edit and store documents in the cloud. It doesn’t have the advanced and intelligent technology of MS Word to take its place but it can be a lifesaver in a variety of situations.

If you’re shaking your head right now and in complete denial that Google Docs has a place in your world, then it’s possible you just don’t understand it enough. From basic documents to styles to research, Docs has extensive capabilities and this infographic from WhoIsHostingThis will tell you all about them…

Google Docs Masterclass: The Infographic - Via Who Is Hosting This: The Blog

Source: WhoIsHostingThis.com

An Agile Cheat Sheet for Anyone

Cheat sheets are awesome! Those just getting into a particular field love them for quick notes and tips to get through projects. Experienced IT professionals love a good cheat sheet to pass along to those they train or for a simple reminder of some basics they don’t use every day.

The TDC has no shortage of cheat sheets. From Learning to Code to navigating LinkedIn and links to many other technology cheat sheets, when we find one, we share it. That’s why when this Agile cheat sheet came across our desk, we knew we had to get it out there. If you’re in an Agile environment, have any intention of working in one, or just want a few tips to organize your projects, then have a look at this great infographic from James Cannings of MMT Digital.

Can You Solve the “Seven Planets” Riddle

It’s Friday, so why not take a break and solve this Seven Planet Riddle from Ted-Ed. Getting the answer doesn’t have to be just about getting the answer, solving riddles is a fun way to keep your brain sharp.

Riddles also let you improve upon your problem solving skills. The key to solving a problem is simplifying the issue to better understand it and using deductive reasoning, no different than when IT contractors find solutions for clients. So take a stab at the riddle and see what you come up with!

Changes at Eagle (and for Me!) Expected to Drive Opportunities into Our Contractor Base

Morley Surcon By Morley Surcon,
Vice-President Strategic Accounts & Client Solutions, Western Canada at Eagle

I am pleased to announce that my position as GM/VP of the Calgary region is changing. Kelly Benson will now take over the branch management responsibilities from me, which is allowing me to refocus my efforts externally. My new title is VP, Strategic Accounts and Client Solutions and my area of responsibility will be Western Canada.

This change is exciting for a couple of reasons. First, is that I believe Kelly will do an excellent job managing the Calgary branch. She’s a very capable and enthusiastic individual and has a great base of experience from which to draw. The branch is in very good hands. Second, is that for some time now Eagle has been internally/operationally focused and this change will have me pro-actively engaging in the market once again!

One of our company’s core values is Innovation. Over the past year or so, Eagle has introduced a number of technological innovations to support and enhance our processes. These innovations enhance our onboarding, candidate sourcing, contractor management, and compliance/safety programs. Together, they have an impact on all of our internal processes, making us more efficient and effective in our business operations. And if that wasn’t enough, we have also gone through the process of recertification for our ISO quality system, moving from the older 9001:2008 standard to the current 9001:2015 standard. All these changes meant that management needed to be introspective. These technological innovations have made us better at what we do and kept us on the cutting edge, which is critical in our hyper-competitive industry. However, in doing so we’ve had reduced connections, at the executive level, with the broader market.

My new role will see me re-engaging with our clients at senior levels, acting in an advisory capacity and building value by sharing Eagle’s accumulated knowledge of the contingent workforce industry. Additionally, I will work with companies to consider innovative alternatives to the typical temporary staffing model. I will essentially be a resource to support their own labour-planning process. My expectation is that I will learn of companies’ business challenges at both strategic and tactical levels. As a result, I’ll need to engage with thought leaders, business consultants and subject matter experts from our contractor database across Western Canada to create solutions for our clientele. These solutions will require resources and Eagle’s recruiters will be calling out to our contractor database to check on availability and gauge interest. The more successful I am, the more opportunities there will be for our contractor partners!

As my move into this role is still very new, it is hard to say just where the successes will come; but opportunities for Eagle’s contractors and consultants will certainly be a result.  I’m looking forward to engaging with both clients and consultants in the upcoming months to drive out this new initiative!

If you have a strategic or out-of-the-box idea to share, I can easily be reached via my LinkedIn profile