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Carrying On: Words to (Net)Work By

• Information is plentiful; time is not. What with Google, blogs and Wikis, there is so much technology information at your fingertips that you can pass as an expert in nearly any subject with only a few hours' research. The hard part is knowing what to pay attention to and what to ignore; this is the value of analysis.

• Throw-away infrastructure is here. Users don't bother repairing their broken DVD players any more; they simply buy new ones. Nor do they analyze Windows when it crashes; if worse comes to worst, they reload the OS from scratch or replace the PC.

Same with networking: When a problem gets to Level 2 support (after Level 1 verifies that the power is actually on), the troubleshooter often just replaces code. The logical next step is to swap hardware. Why pay for expensive equipment and maintenance so a tech can replace a router or switch tomorrow? Buy two cheap devices and use one as a spare.

• Buy only for the near term. Technology is a terrible long-term investment--worse than cars, jewelry and even California real estate. Take it from the companies that bought into ATM networks: Never purchase systems based on a vague future need. When you need the capability, the price will be half what it is today.

• Technologies stay around long past their stay-fresh dates. Few systems are ever really retired. By the time we finally get matter transporters, the people booking our trips will probably be using 3270 terminals.

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