IT Career:

11 ways to re-energize your IT career

Mid-career blues, begone. Here are 11 actionable items tech pros can tackle to keep moving on up in IT.

Stuck in the middle — and blue?
Eric Reed knows a thing or two about mid-career pitfalls. He’s seen some mid-level IT managers get too enamored with technology for its own sake, rather than viewing it as a way to advance business goals. Other would-be leaders didn’t know how to communicate or collaborate with non-IT colleagues and were sidelined as techies rather than ID’d as future business leaders.

Reed is grateful he was able to overcome those challenges in his own career and sustain his momentum — he’s now CTO at GE Capital. With that goal in mind, Computerworld asked Reed and other seasoned IT pros for advice on how to keep your tech career from getting bogged down. Read on for their tips.

Develop a road map
It’s smart to know not just where you want to land but how best to get there. Piera Palazzolo, senior vice president at Dale Carnegie Training, which specializes in business-oriented improvement, recommends starting with self-reflection. Map out the exact positions you’d like to hold and the ultimate title you’d like to achieve. “Then set a course for yourself and find out what you need to learn,” Palazzolo says. Talk to your supervisor and other higher-ups in the company to determine how they can help you and whether your company’s plans for you mesh with your own.

Bob Flynn, manager of IT community partnerships at Indiana University, says his organization requires each worker to have a career management plan, which he says helps him and his colleagues to map out their goals.

Gain new perspective
Managers often pay lip service to the concept of “walking the shop floor,” but James Stanger, senior director of product development at CompTIA, an IT trade association, suggests going beyond the typical pat-on-the-back mentality. Instead, get to know how your direct reports, your colleagues and your customers view the world.

“In middle management, due to the demands of the job and just trying to get it done, people get these blinders on, and they don’t think about how others think,” Stanger says. Try asking: What do you think about this problem? What’s your perspective? Can you explain your need here?

“Take those blinders off and you’ll find yourself much more nimble in your thinking,” Stanger says, which in turn will make you a better problem-solver — a valued leadership quality.

Find leadership opportunities
To continue honing your leadership skills, look for opportunities that will get you noticed — especially ones outside of your department. “Volunteer for a cross-functional task force that exposes you to senior leaders. Get out of your silo, and get more people in your organization to know who you are,” says Carly Goldsmith, a career coach specializing in guiding mid-career professionals. She suggests seeking out projects and committees that will help you grow your skills.

One of her clients took Goldsmith’s advice, joining a project that required her to have more interactions and strategic conversations with senior leaders. The move paid off: She was offered a promotion shortly after the project wrapped up.

Be a perfectionist
Sure, no one’s perfect, but if you’re gunning for more responsibilities, you have to make sure you’re doing your current job as close to perfect as possible.

Sean Andersen, director of interactive services at Six Flags Entertainment Corp., works with IT managers across the company’s 18 theme parks. He says he notices the ones who “keep their house in order” — consistently fulfilling all of their assigned duties, including routine and mundane tasks that often get overlooked. Andersen taps those individuals for special projects because they’re most likely to be able to handle additional responsibilities.

Case in point: When the company launched a pilot program with the new Chromebox two years ago, he went to the manager who had everything else already under control.

Learn constantly, and share what you discover

To protect yourself from becoming technically obsolete as you move up in management and away from the tech trenches, you need to be constantly building and refreshing a well-rounded set of skills. “The idea is to be constantly learning,” CompTIA’s Stanger says. Take more classes, get another certification, earn an advanced degree, he says.

If you’re like most workers, your current job requirements already fill your work week, which means you’ll have to dig hard to find more hours for learning something new. Andersen, the Six Flags executive, says he carves out time — usually late at night — to read up on and test out new technologies. And he says he likewise has doled out plum assignments to direct reports who show similar initiative.

Compensate for your blind spots
Reed, the CTO at GE Capital, admits that in the past he often didn’t think about the impact his decisions had on other people. “I’d sign onto an objective and put together a plan, but I was not thinking about the ramifications on the team,” he says. He didn’t realize the problem until someone on his team called him out on it.

Reed says his headlong decision-making style didn’t kill his career, but it had done some damage with his business partners. Now that he’s became aware of his blind spot, he works to keep it front of mind as he makes commitments that affect his team.

Bernadette Rasmussen, divisional senior vice president of information management and CTO of Health Care Service Corp. (HCSC), agrees with Reed’s approach. “Listen to your team members, listen to your peers and listen to your business leaders,” she advises.

Know how your business makes money…
It’s not enough to have generic business acumen. That’s required for most technologists these days.

To gain a leadership position, you have to know how your organization operates and, more importantly, how it makes money. “Some people get into middle management and they don’t understand that. They don’t understand that we’re not here to implement neat technology. We’re here to help the business make money,” Reed says.

He recommends spending more time meeting with business colleagues to develop that insight and then using it to make smarter decisions within IT. Understanding which technologies have the biggest impact on the company’s bottom line will help you prioritize projects and deliver the big bang that draws attention, Reed says.

… then use that knowledge to drive business results
As an IT middle manager, you most certainly need to know technology and must consistently deliver on your technology projects. As an aspiring C-level leader, your priority should be making sure those projects deliver a tangible benefit to the company. In other words, show your ROI.

“You must change your perspective from mastering technology to helping your organization drive results,” says HCSC’s Rasmussen. “Help connect the dots, drive change with perspective beyond your own and add your unique value,” she advises.

Be the expert that people seek out
You need to be more than an expert to attain a corner office — you need to be the expert.

Theresa Caragol learned that lesson during her upward climb. “You have to be the best and have the deepest expertise so someone says, ‘If I want to understand this, I have to go talk to this person.’ And if you’re the expert in more than one technology, that’s even better,” she says.

Caragol, now global vice president for channels and partners at Extreme Networks Inc., positioned herself as an expert in software-defined networking at a previous employer. Her mentors helped line up opportunities for her to speak on the topic, which brought her to the attention of those in positions to promote her. She worked her way up to vice president of global channel, alliances and partners at Ciena Corp., her previous employer, a role that in turn served as a stepping stone to her current position.

Manage up and manage down
If you really want to shine, make sure your team does. And make your manager look good, too. After all, in almost all cases your boss will be the one to recommend you for top assignments and promotions. Have regular face-to-face conversations where you can talk about company objectives, professional goals and, yes, even your personal interests, says Dale Carnegie Training’s Palazzolo.

Put the same effort into building relationships with your team, because you’re only as good as the output you get from them. Vidhya Ranganathan, senior vice president of products and engineering at cloud-services firm Accellion Inc., takes a commonsense approach to building relationships. She regularly has lunch with her team and chats over coffee. “It’s not to give them [formal] guidance, but to just listen and let them know I’m available,” she says.

Avoid missteps

To make your rise through the ranks as painless as possible:
Don’t wait for your manager to offer you opportunities. There’s a reason why Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella recently found himself embroiled a firestorm of criticism when he urged women seeking a raise to “have faith in the system” rather than asking for what they want — it’s bad advice for all employees. “Too often, middle managers take a passive approach to their career advancement” — including raises and promotions, career-coach Goldsmith says. “Go out and find the opportunities yourself.
Don’t linger in a job you dislike or that’s not well suited for you. “Motivation plummets, mistakes are made, stress increases. And whether you’re conscious of it or not, you start to be seen as a poor performer,” Goldsmith explains.
Don’t get trapped in the weeds. According to Goldsmith, middle managers often do more hands-on work than they should. You need to move out of the tech trenches and lead your team, not code with them.


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11 ways to re-energize your IT career

Mid-career blues, begone. Here are 11 actionable items tech pros can tackle to keep moving on up in IT.

Stuck in the middle — and blue?
Eric Reed knows a thing or two about mid-career pitfalls. He’s seen some mid-level IT managers get too enamored with technology for its own sake, rather than viewing it as a way to advance business goals. Other would-be leaders didn’t know how to communicate or collaborate with non-IT colleagues and were sidelined as techies rather than ID’d as future business leaders.

Reed is grateful he was able to overcome those challenges in his own career and sustain his momentum — he’s now CTO at GE Capital. With that goal in mind, Computerworld asked Reed and other seasoned IT pros for advice on how to keep your tech career from getting bogged down. Read on for their tips.

Develop a road map
It’s smart to know not just where you want to land but how best to get there. Piera Palazzolo, senior vice president at Dale Carnegie Training, which specializes in business-oriented improvement, recommends starting with self-reflection. Map out the exact positions you’d like to hold and the ultimate title you’d like to achieve. “Then set a course for yourself and find out what you need to learn,” Palazzolo says. Talk to your supervisor and other higher-ups in the company to determine how they can help you and whether your company’s plans for you mesh with your own.

Gain new perspective
Managers often pay lip service to the concept of “walking the shop floor,” but James Stanger, senior director of product development at CompTIA, an IT trade association, suggests going beyond the typical pat-on-the-back mentality. Instead, get to know how your direct reports, your colleagues and your customers view the world.

“In middle management, due to the demands of the job and just trying to get it done, people get these blinders on, and they don’t think about how others think,” Stanger says. Try asking: What do you think about this problem? What’s your perspective? Can you explain your need here?

“Take those blinders off and you’ll find yourself much more nimble in your thinking,” Stanger says, which in turn will make you a better problem-solver — a valued leadership quality.

Find leadership opportunities
To continue honing your leadership skills, look for opportunities that will get you noticed — especially ones outside of your department. “Volunteer for a cross-functional task force that exposes you to senior leaders. Get out of your silo, and get more people in your organization to know who you are,” says Carly Goldsmith, a career coach specializing in guiding mid-career professionals. She suggests seeking out projects and committees that will help you grow your skills.

One of her clients took Goldsmith’s advice, joining a project that required her to have more interactions and strategic conversations with senior leaders. The move paid off: She was offered a promotion shortly after the project wrapped up

Be a perfectionist
Sure, no one’s perfect, but if you’re gunning for more responsibilities, you have to make sure you’re doing your current job as close to perfect as possible.

Sean Andersen, director of interactive services at Six Flags Entertainment Corp., works with IT managers across the company’s 18 theme parks. He says he notices the ones who “keep their house in order” — consistently fulfilling all of their assigned duties, including routine and mundane tasks that often get overlooked. Andersen taps those individuals for special projects because they’re most likely to be able to handle additional responsibilities.

Case in point: When the company launched a pilot program with the new Chromebox two years ago, he went to the manager who had everything else already under control.

Learn constantly, and share what you discover
To protect yourself from becoming technically obsolete as you move up in management and away from the tech trenches, you need to be constantly building and refreshing a well-rounded set of skills. “The idea is to be constantly learning,” CompTIA’s Stanger says. Take more classes, get another certification, earn an advanced degree, he says.

If you’re like most workers, your current job requirements already fill your work week, which means you’ll have to dig hard to find more hours for learning something new. Andersen, the Six Flags executive, says he carves out time — usually late at night — to read up on and test out new technologies. And he says he likewise has doled out plum assignments to direct reports who show similar initiative.

Compensate for your blind spots
Reed, the CTO at GE Capital, admits that in the past he often didn’t think about the impact his decisions had on other people. “I’d sign onto an objective and put together a plan, but I was not thinking about the ramifications on the team,” he says. He didn’t realize the problem until someone on his team called him out on it.

Reed says his headlong decision-making style didn’t kill his career, but it had done some damage with his business partners. Now that he’s became aware of his blind spot, he works to keep it front of mind as he makes commitments that affect his team.

Bernadette Rasmussen, divisional senior vice president of information management and CTO of Health Care Service Corp. (HCSC), agrees with Reed’s approach. “Listen to your team members, listen to your peers and listen to your business leaders,” she advises.

Know how your business makes money…
It’s not enough to have generic business acumen. That’s required for most technologists these days.

To gain a leadership position, you have to know how your organization operates and, more importantly, how it makes money. “Some people get into middle management and they don’t understand that. They don’t understand that we’re not here to implement neat technology. We’re here to help the business make money,” Reed says.

He recommends spending more time meeting with business colleagues to develop that insight and then using it to make smarter decisions within IT. Understanding which technologies have the biggest impact on the company’s bottom line will help you prioritize projects and deliver the big bang that draws attention, Reed says.

… then use that knowledge to drive business results
As an IT middle manager, you most certainly need to know technology and must consistently deliver on your technology projects. As an aspiring C-level leader, your priority should be making sure those projects deliver a tangible benefit to the company. In other words, show your ROI.

“You must change your perspective from mastering technology to helping your organization drive results,” says HCSC’s Rasmussen. “Help connect the dots, drive change with perspective beyond your own and add your unique value,” she advises.

Be the expert that people seek out
You need to be more than an expert to attain a corner office — you need to be the expert.

Theresa Caragol learned that lesson during her upward climb. “You have to be the best and have the deepest expertise so someone says, ‘If I want to understand this, I have to go talk to this person.’ And if you’re the expert in more than one technology, that’s even better,” she says.

Caragol, now global vice president for channels and partners at Extreme Networks Inc., positioned herself as an expert in software-defined networking at a previous employer. Her mentors helped line up opportunities for her to speak on the topic, which brought her to the attention of those in positions to promote her. She worked her way up to vice president of global channel, alliances and partners at Ciena Corp., her previous employer, a role that in turn served as a stepping stone to her current position.

Manage up and manage down
If you really want to shine, make sure your team does. And make your manager look good, too. After all, in almost all cases your boss will be the one to recommend you for top assignments and promotions. Have regular face-to-face conversations where you can talk about company objectives, professional goals and, yes, even your personal interests, says Dale Carnegie Training’s Palazzolo.

Put the same effort into building relationships with your team, because you’re only as good as the output you get from them. Vidhya Ranganathan, senior vice president of products and engineering at cloud-services firm Accellion Inc., takes a commonsense approach to building relationships. She regularly has lunch with her team and chats over coffee. “It’s not to give them [formal] guidance, but to just listen and let them know I’m available,” she says.

Avoid missteps
To make your rise through the ranks as painless as possible:
Don’t wait for your manager to offer you opportunities. There’s a reason why Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella recently found himself embroiled a firestorm of criticism when he urged women seeking a raise to “have faith in the system” rather than asking for what they want — it’s bad advice for all employees. “Too often, middle managers take a passive approach to their career advancement” — including raises and promotions, career-coach Goldsmith says. “Go out and find the opportunities yourself.
Don’t linger in a job you dislike or that’s not well suited for you. “Motivation plummets, mistakes are made, stress increases. And whether you’re conscious of it or not, you start to be seen as a poor performer,” Goldsmith explains.
Don’t get trapped in the weeds. According to Goldsmith, middle managers often do more hands-on work than they should. You need to move out of the tech trenches and lead your team, not code with them.


 

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Techies work harder as benefits go bust

Consumer, corporate and even SCADA systems could be at risk when Microsoft stops supporting Windows XP.

Microsoft’s recent announcement that it will end support for the Windows XP operating system in two years signals the end of an era for the company, and potentially the beginning of a nightmare for everyone else.
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“Richard,” a 40-year-old IT architect, felt like his career path had reached its end at the financial services company where he’d worked for seven years. In a shaky economy, he was grateful to have a job at all, but when his employer eliminated matching funds in his 401(k) plan, as well as its profit-sharing program — which usually put an extra $1,000 in his pocket each year — he knew he had to go.

IT salaries rise
“Benefits were the straw that broke the camel’s back,” says Richard, who, like several other IT pros interviewed, was wary of revealing his real name, given the sensitivity of the topic. He is now a director of IT security at a media company where his salary and benefits are both “a bit better” and healthcare is less expensive.

Like rubbing salt in a wound, more than a quarter of the respondents to Computerworld’s Salary Survey 2012 reported that their benefits had been cut in the past 12 months as a result of the slower economy. At the same time, even though average salaries were up 2.1% for 2012, average bonuses dropped by 1.1%, creating a drag on what would otherwise feel like forward motion for many workers.

The double whammy of smaller bonuses and fewer benefits could explain why more than one-third of the 4,337 IT professionals who responded to the survey said they stayed flat financially over the past two years, with another third saying they lost ground in the same time period. Only 29% reported gaining ground.

The survey data shows that healthcare benefits, tuition reimbursements and 401(k) plans were hit the hardest. These types of benefits “tend to roll around depending on the economy,” says Dallas L. Salisbury, president and CEO of the Employee Benefit Research Institute in Washington.

Jeffrey L. Martineau hasn’t had a raise in 30 months or a benefits boost in 10 years. Now his employer has cut the annual lump sum payment into his retirement plan from between 3% and 5% down to 1% — a $2,000 shortfall each year.

“Cutting back on my retirement funds is significant to me at this point,” says Martineau, 53, director of automated information systems at Harc, a nonprofit in Hartford, Conn., that provides services for people with disabilities. “It will cause me to work longer, and when I do retire, it’s not going to be as comfortable of a life as I would like.”

Even so, the situation isn’t dire enough to cause the 25-year Harc veteran to switch to a new employer. For him to consider moving, “it would have to be a really good package, and there would have to be some longevity built in,” says Martineau. Besides, he adds, “I get the feeling from [Harc executives] that they would really like to bring back a higher benefit for retirement, but they just financially can’t this year.”

For the most part, employees have been understanding of their companies’ struggles with the economy and rising healthcare costs, observers say. “They’re happy to get any kind of healthcare, even if they have to pay for it. People do not want to be without healthcare,” says David Foote, CEO and chief research officer at IT HR consultancy Foote Partners in Vero Beach, Fla. “Benefits matter a lot to people.”

ROI of perks
Penn benefits keep IT staffers engaged
The economy has taken a toll on many companies’ benefits programs, but some employers say offering perks is worth the cost. At the University of Pennsylvania — one of the top benefits providers on Computerworld’s Best Places to Work in IT 2011 list — benefits not only keep employees from moving on, but also keep them engaged, according to Jack Heuer, vice president for human resources.

The university has managed to maintain its healthcare, 403(b) and professional development benefits over the past few years, and it has added a $5,000 adoption benefit and “a substantial subsidy” for third-party child care or adult care for up to 10 calendar days a year — all while keeping undergraduate tuition at its lowest percentage increase in 40 years.

Heuer credits Penn’s ability to increase benefits to a “strong management philosophy” that was established before the economic downturn. “We need to attract and retain employees,” he says. “We recognize that our IT staff could work anywhere.”

“We’re doing this because of employee engagement, which helps build the university and its academic mission,” he adds. “Engaged employees make the university a better place.”

— Stacy Collett

The average benefits package can account for 30% of a worker’s total pay package, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. And while base pay mattered most to this year’s Salary Survey respondents — 73% ranked it as their top priority — benefits were No. 2, mentioned by 59% of survey-takers.

Can benefits, or lack thereof, cause IT workers to change jobs? That depends largely on what stage of life they’re in. According to a 2011 MetLife study of employee benefit trends, Generation Y employees (ages 21 to 31) generally don’t feel as strongly as those in other age groups that benefits are a reason to stay at a job. In comparison, Gen Xers (ages 32 to 47), who are likely to be grappling with the costs of raising children, say workplace benefits are a strong reason to stay with their current employers.

Charging more, paying less

“Patrick,” a data security specialist in Iowa and a father of three, would put himself in the latter camp. “The benefits just slowly get tighter and tighter on what they allow and what the exclusions are,” he says. “When you look at salary raise versus insurance price hikes, your net gain is minimal. Trying to maintain all things related to a home life becomes difficult when a company is charging you more and paying you less.”

Tuition reimbursement tops the list of preferred benefits for “Daniel,” a 35-year-old customer support specialist at a financial services firm in Pennsylvania who is working toward a bachelor’s degree in business management. The cost of his tuition has jumped 35% in the past three years. At first, his company covered all costs for 10 to 12 credits per year, but that has been reduced to a $5,200 flat fee.

Nonetheless, neither Gen Xer plans to leave his job solely for better perks. Likewise, young baby boomers (ages 46 to 54) don’t appear to be a serious flight risk either, but job dissatisfaction could lead them to be less engaged and a potential threat to productivity, according to the MetLife study.

As for older boomers, many are finding they’re financially unprepared for retirement. Derick Moore, 68, a senior staff programmer at LSI, a semiconductor and software design firm in Milpitas, Calif., is facing rising healthcare costs and contemplating what that will mean after retirement.

For doctor visits, he pays “a couple thousand [dollars] a year” out of pocket, and his health insurance premiums have risen from $80 per paycheck in 2009 to $115 in 2012. Overall, Moore insists he’s “a happy camper” at his company of almost 16 years. He’s just wary of the rising percentages he’s being asked to pay.

Tech employees who are frustrated enough to consider switching jobs may want to look for a new employer that approaches benefits from a generational perspective and with more choices, flexibility and customization, say HR professionals.

Employees should check out whatever voluntary benefits their companies offer — including accident insurance, additional life insurance or customized retirement plans — and take advantage of those that fit their current lifestyles. On the healthcare side, high-deductible/lower-cost plans and health savings accounts can take some pressure off employees’ paychecks.

Those concerns notwithstanding, Foote says the benefit that employees should seek out most is career advancement. He reports that most IT professionals he has surveyed “would work for lower pay if they could get somewhere in their careers.”

Honing skills that are in demand and taking on new responsibilities are the best ways to insure against an uncertain job market. If you have those goods, Foote says, you’ll be well positioned to bargain for a bigger salary and better benefits.
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Steve Jobs campaigns for new Spacechip style campus in Cupertino

Wasting no time, Steve Jobs followed up Monday’s WWDC keynote with an impassioned presentation on Wednesday at the Cupertino City Council. And just what exactly was Jobs trying to champion? A brand new space-age building capable of housing 12,000 Apple employees. If you recall, Apple back in late 2010 purchased a 98 acre lot of land from Hewlett Packard, effectively doubling Apple’s current campus in Cupertino.

 

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Addressing the city council, Jobs stressed the need for a new campus by pointing out that Apple is growing like a weed and is already forced to rent out a number of buildings to accommodate thousands of employees. With approximately 12,000 employees in Cupertino, the proposed building would complement Apple’s current campus at 1 infinite loop, not replace it.

Now typically, a large corporation looking to expand and construct a new building is hardly interesting, but Apple is not your typical corporation.

The building Apple envisions and hopes to build looks like it’s straight out of the future, with Jobs noting, “It’s a little like a spaceship landed… It’s got this gorgeous courtyard in the middle, but it’s got a lot more.”

Completely circular, Jobs boasted that the planned structure will be constructed, in part, out of one behemoth sized piece of curved glass.

“There’s not a single straight piece of glass in this building,” Jobs explained. “We’ve used our experience in building retail buildings all over the world. We know how to make the biggest pieces of glass for architectural use. And, we want to make the glass specifically for this building here. We can make it curve all the way around the building… It’s pretty cool.”

And Apple being Apple, the building will be environmentally friendly, with parking located underground and plans for the building to use renewable energy sources, specifically employing “natural gas and other ways that are cleaner and cheaper” and relying on the city grid as a backup.

Jobs also mentioned that he’s assembled a team of some of the best architects in the world to help design what he says may very well be the “best office building in the world.” Indeed, news surfaced back in December that Apple had signed on noted and prolific British architect Norman Foster to help out with the project.

As for other features, the proposed building will house its own auditorium for large scale presentations like week’s WWDC keynote along with a cafeteria capable of housing 3,000 folks concurrently.

Apple hopes to officially move into its planned structure by 2015.

Some other points of interest include:

– The building will be only four stories

– Jobs envisions the number of Apple employees growing from nearly 10,000 today to 13,000 by 2015

– There will be dedicated buildings for R&D

– Jobs noted he’d like to stay in Cupertino and “pay taxes”, but if that isn’t possible, they’ll be forced to look at Mountain View (look out, Google!)

– Jobs said if Apple could get out of taxes, they’d be happy to provide free wi-fi for the city

-With approximately 3,700 trees in the area at the present time, Jobs said Apple would almost double the number of trees to 6,000


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Active Directory Federation Services 2.0 – Glossary

This topic contains definitions of key terms that are used in customizing Active Directory® Federation Services (AD FS) 2.0.

 

 

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claim

A statement about a subject; for example, a name, identity, key, group, permission, or capability, made by one subject about itself or another subject.  Claims are given one or more values and then packaged in security tokens that are issued by a security token service (STS).

claim type

The type of statement in the claim being made.  Example claim types include FirstName, Role, and PPID.  The claim type provides context for the claim value.

claim value

The value of the statement in the claim being made.  For example, if the claim type is FirstName, a value might be Matt.

claims provider

A claims provider is a type of identity provider that provides single sign-on functionality between an organization and other identity providers and relying parties.

identity provider

An organization issuing claims in security tokens.  For example, a credit-card provider organization might issue a claim in a security token that enables payment if the relying party application requires that information to complete an authorized transaction.

identity provider – security token service (IP-STS)

A software component or service that is used by an identity provider that issues claims and packages them in security tokens.

information card

A visual representation of an identity with associated metadata that may be selected by a user in response to an authentication request.

managed information card

An information card provided by an external identity provider. By using managed cards, identity information is stored with an identity provider.

relying party

An application that relies on security tokens and claims issued by an identity provider.

security token

An on-the-wire representation of claims that has been cryptographically signed by the issuer of the claims, providing strong proof to any relying party as to the integrity of the claims and the identity of the issuer.

security token service (STS)

A Web service that issues claims and packages them in encrypted security tokens (see WS-Security, WS-Trust).

web single sign-on (SSO)

A process enabling partnering organizations to exchange user authentication and authorization data. By using Web SSO, users in partner organizations can transition between secure Web domains without having to present credentials at each domain boundary.

Windows® CardSpace™ 2.0

Windows® CardSpace™ 2.0 is Microsoft’s implementation of an Information Card selector for Microsoft Windows. See Information Card.

WS-Federation

The WS-Federation standard defines mechanisms that are used to enable identity, attribute, authentication, and authorization federation across different trust realms. For more information about WS-Federation, see Understanding WS-Federation at the MSDN Web site.

WS-Federation passive requester profile

WS-Federation Passive Requester Profile describes how the cross trust realm identity, authentication, and authorization federation mechanisms defined in WS-Federation can be utilized used by passive requesters such as Web browsers to provide Identity Services. Passive requesters of this profile are limited to the HTTP protocol. For more information about WS-Federation Passive Requester Profile, see the specification at the MSDN Web site.

WS-Security

The WS-Security standard consists of a set of protocols designed to help secure Web service communication using SOAP. For more information about WS-Security, see the OASIS site for the WS-Security standard.

WS-Trust

A standard that takes advantage of WS-Security to provide Web services with methods to build and verify trust relationships. For more information about WS-Trust, see the OASIS site for the WS-SX standard, which includes WS-Trust.

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How Microsoft made the Touch Mouse

Microsoft actually built a multi-touch mouse before Apple; at CES last year Stephen Bathiche, the head of the Microsoft Applied Sciences team, told TechRadar how his team designed a capacitive mouse and announced their research prototype at a conference a month before Apple announced the Magic Mouse.

 

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The Microsoft hardware team has taken another year to turn that prototype into a mouse they’re happy with, collaborating with researchers in the Applied Sciences team and the innovation development team at Microsoft Research in Cambridge (many of whom worked on projects like Microsoft Surface).

Hrvoje Benko of the Applied Sciences group showed TechRadar a selection of the prototypes from the three years he’s been working on the ‘Mouse 2.0’ project. (Benko is behind the Lightspace project that uses a camera and projector “to make any surface, any wall – any body part! – into a Surface.”)

Touch mouse prototypes

CONCEPTS: Five different ideas for Mouse 2.0 – FITR mouse, Touch Mouse, the articulated franken-mouse, the hemisphere mouse and the mouse that shines a laser on your desk

The idea was to combine the good old mouse – which has been around since the early 1960s without much change in the way you use it – with the multi-touch features of Microsoft Surface. You can touch, grip and gesture with your whole hand, but the mouse reduces all your dexterity to a single cursor and right-click.

The Mouse 2.0 concepts went through several different kinds of touch sensors. A curved mouse made from acrylic sheet and an infrared camera (using the Frustrated Internal Total Reflection technique Perceptive Pixel uses for touch screens where the touch of a finger is detected because it allows reflected internal light out of the surface layer) looked good but could only sense the tips of your fingers.

Putting a diffused illumination infrared camera in a half sphere produced an unusual shape that had too much internal reflection and while it made users more creative in the way they used gestures it also made their hands get tired.

An articulated mouse made from the innards of two mice bolted together, with knobs for two of your fingers sticking out at the front, was accurate and comfortable – but only allowed two-touch gestures.

One design with an infrared laser and camera detected your fingers touching the desk surface around the mouse, but only worked well if it was just the right size for your hand.

More like a mouse

In the end, the team picked a multi-touch mouse using a capacitive sensor, because that lets you have gestures without abandoning the familiar mouse shape (the sensor is small and you don’t need to fit in a camera; it’s not too expensive, either, because it’s printed onto plastic using conductive ink).

“The benefits of the mouse are that it’s comfortable and precise,” Benko told us. “We didn’t want to come up with something that meant people have to change the way they use the mouse. You can still point and click.”

But when you click, it’s not a button that’s moving; it’s the whole mouse (and that’s more to give you feedback than to detect the click). “The whole surface of the mouse is a button so when you right-click and left-click it’s really the same – but we detect where you click and that’s what determines the click,” he explained.

Touch mouse prototypes

PROTOTYPES: Some of the many stages of designing the Touch Mouse, from the 3D printed (but fully working) first CAD prototype to the almost-finished wireless mouse. The diamond pattern is the multi-touch sensor – which is covered in later prototypes

Clicking and gesturing on the mouse surface is very comfortable thanks to the textured surface, which is a grid of tiny laser-etched dots. “This mouse will be used a lot”, boasts Benko, “so we used laser etching; you cannot rub this off.”

The mouse has a matte surface on purpose. “We spent a lot of time optimising the surface top coat. It’s not glossy – try moving your fingers on a glossy surface for more than a few minutes; it gets really tiring,” he points out.

And the dots are there for two reasons. “They showcase where the sensor is, and they make the surface a little bumpy, so if you have oily fingers you can still make the gestures because it has some tactile feel to it.”

Touch mouse prototype

INSIDE: The multi-touch grid senses your fingers, the optical sensor works like any other mouse and the microswitch at the front is the mouse button

The shape of the mouse went through many different iterations and hundreds of protoypes, some with radically different designs; individual features that were popular with testers were combined into the final version. And the way that the touch surface on the mouse recognises gestures is based on how the hundreds of testers moved their fingers.

“We thought about how to define the gestures – move your finger this many millimetres up and you trigger the gestures. We decided to record a whole bunch of people doing them; we had folks with really giant hands, people with really small hands, male, female, left-handed, right-handed. We asked them to do things like ‘put two fingers down and move up’ and we used that to define how we recognise that gesture.”

How many fingers make sense?

You scroll by dragging your fingers over the top surface but you can do more than scroll up and down; move your fingers from side to side and you scan scroll and pan across a window.

In a long document you can flick your finger up, down or across and then tap to stop scrolling when you get to the right page. Using two fingers to scroll controls your current window; move to fingers up to maximise a window or restore the previous size, two fingers down to minimise or restore a window – and two fingers to the side uses Aero Snap to fit to half the screen.

Use three fingers and you control all your windows; move three fingers up to open the revamped version of the task viewer in the IntelliPoint software, move three fingers down to minimise your windows and show the desktop.

“I’m a firm believer that the most dextrous finger on your hand is your thumb,” jokes Benko – so you can swipe your thumb on the side of the mouse and move back and forward between web pages in the browser or slides in PowerPoint or images in Photo Gallery (it works in any app that has back and forward buttons).

Touch mouse grid

TOUCHABLE: The grid of dots is laser etched into the Touch Mouse; the texture makes it easier to grip and less tiring to use

A little glowing indicator on screen shows you that you’ve used your thumb so you don’t get confused (avoiding a problem that showed up in early testing when users sometimes didn’t realise when their fingers were making a gesture) and this is a huge timesaver that immediately feels natural.

There aren’t any gestures that use more fingers even though the mouse knows where they are. “We can see all five fingers”, Benko explained, “but it’s hard to keep even four fingers in place.” The limitation is not what the mouse can detect but whether more complex gestures would be easy enough to use.

“We can actually detect 20 touch points,” he told us, adding that his team wrote the underlying sensor code “and the actual underlying infrastructure is fairly similar to the code that’s running in the Surface touch processing.”

Touch mouse

SIZE IS EVERYTHING: The gestures you can make on a mouse are limited by the size available – the Touch Mouse is big enough for most hands

The signal processing that the mouse does can encode lots of individual points on the touch surface at the same time but, as he put it, even though the touch surface goes almost to the very edge of the mouse “we have a real limitation with space and with your hand.”

You can turn off gestures you don’t use and switch the mouse to be left or right handed, but you can’t make up your own gestures.

“We spent a lot of time optimising the gesture set so you can do these three different functions. Given the amount of time it took us to nail this experience,” he suggests it might not be easy to design your own unique gesture that won’t be mistaken for anything else. “You don’t want to have the crosstalk problem: is it this gesture or is it that gesture?”

The future for the Touch Mouse

The team is thinking about more ways to use the multi-touch sensors, though. “We’ve thought about the authentication aspect,” Benko told us enthusiastically; the way you move your fingers is often unique enough to identify you, so just gesturing on the mouse could be enough to log you in or load preferences for a different user if someone else uses your mouse.

“It would be really cool to do simple things – like we can totally detect handedness and we could switch the settings automatically. It would be really interesting – but at this point we’re still nailing the basic experience. We want to come out with a great experience at launch.”

Now that the Touch Mouse is almost done (it will be on sale in May), Benko’s team is experimenting with what else they can do with multi-touch. “We’ve built some different mice with this type of sensor,” he told TechRadar, mentioning one particularly intriguing idea we hope we get to see at CES 2012. “We’ve wrapped the capacitive surface around a pen and used it as a sensor.”

Read more: http://www.techradar.com/news/computing-components/how-microsoft-made-the-touch-mouse-920742#ixzz1Oh4d4YPj


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Hackers may try to disrupt World IPv6 Day II

Brzozowski says Comcast will be monitoring its network for signs of attack throughout the trial. “We’re taking the necessary steps so that the Comcast infrastructure is protected,” he adds.

Juniper says that if its website comes under DDoS or other attack on World IPv6 Day, it will simply switch back to IPv4. “We can revert back to IPv4 in about five minutes,” says Alain Durand, director of software engineering at Juniper, which is using its own translator-in-a-cloud service to IPv6 enable its main website for the day.

 


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Akamai, a content delivery network with 30 customers that are participating in World IPv6 Day, says it isn’t too concerned about hacking or DDoS attacks during the IPv6 trial.

“All of our command and control systems are going to stay on IPv4,” says Andy Champagne, vice president of engineering with Akamai, which is developing a commercial IPv6 service. “Absent some underlying exposure in the protocol that we don’t know about … we think we’re OK. We’ve got enough IPv6 capacity … I don’t expect any trouble.”

Radware’s Meyran says hackers may be so clever that they won’t attack websites on World IPv6 Day but will instead wait until these sites turn IPv6 on permanently. “The hackers will be very happy to see this day go successfully and that sites are starting to deploy IPv6 because it opens up new areas of attack,” he predicts.

That’s why Meyran recommends network administrators who participate in World IPv6 Day follow up with an event focused on IPv6 security testing. “The next stage will be to … run attack tools that simulate IPv6 attacks to make sure your firewalls are really seeing the network and that your intrusion protection systems can really do the deep packet inspection of IPv6 traffic,” he says.

World IPv6 Day is a large-scale experiment sponsored by the Internet Society that is designed to discover problems with IPv6 before the new protocol is widely deployed.

DETAILS: What if IPv6 simply fails to catch on?

The Internet needs IPv6 because it is running out of addresses using IPv4. The free pool of unassigned IPv4 addresses expired in February, and in April the Asia Pacific region ran out of all but a few IPv4 addresses being held in reserve for startups. The American Registry for Internet Numbers (ARIN), which doles out IP addresses to network operators in North America, says it will deplete its supply of IPv4 addresses this fall.

IPv4 uses 32-bit addresses and can support 4.3 billion devices connected directly to the Internet, but IPv6 uses 128-bit addresses and can connect up a virtually unlimited number of devices: 2 to the 128th power. IPv6 offers the promise of faster, less-costly Internet services than the alternative, which is to extend the life of IPv4 using network address translation (NAT) devices.

One major stumbling block for IPv6 deployment is that it’s not backward compatible with IPv4. That means website operators have to upgrade their network equipment and software to support IPv6 traffic.


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Hackers may try to disrupt World IPv6 Day

Hundreds of popular websites — including Google, Facebook, Yahoo and Bing — are participating in a 24-hour trial of a new Internet standard called IPv6 on June 8, prompting worries that hackers will exploit weaknesses in this emerging technology to launch attacks.

BACKGROUND: Large-scale IPv6 trial set for June 8

Dubbed World IPv6 Day, the IPv6 trial runs from 8 p.m. EST on Tuesday until 7:59 p.m. EST on Wednesday.

Security experts are concerned that the 400-plus corporate, government and university websites that are participating in World IPv6 Day could be hit with distributed denial of service (DDoS) or other hacking attacks during the 24-hour trial.

 

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“In the last five months, there has been a huge increase in DDoS attacks,” says Ron Meyran, director of product marketing and security at Radware, a network device company that is not participating in World IPv6 Day. “IPv6 is going to be even easier for attackers … because IPv6 traffic will go through your deep packet inspection systems uninspected.”

Meyran says another concern is that IPv6 packet headers are four times larger than IPv4 headers. This means routers, firewalls and other network devices must process more data, which makes it easier to overwhelm them in a DDoS attack.

“With a DDoS attack, you need to reach 100% utilization of the networking and security devices to saturate the services,” Meyran says. The longer headers in IPv6 “must be processed completely to make routing decisions.”

“I wonder if there’s going to be any sort of DDoS type of things going on … or hackers probing servers that are dual-stack enabled [running IPv6 and IPv4 at the same time],” says Jean McManus, executive director of Verizon’s Corporate Technology Organization, which is participating in World IPv6 Day. “Content providers need to be careful and watch to make sure that everything is appropriately locked down.”

Many security threats related to IPv6 stem from the fact that the technology is new, so it hasn’t been as well-tested or de-bugged as IPv4. Also, fewer network managers have experience with IPv6 so they aren’t as familiar with writing IPv6-related rules for their firewalls or other security devices.

“We know from security breaches that the security rules that allow you to see the network and applications better … is where there is a lack of training and expertise with IPv6,” Meyran says. “The new software is much more complex … and there are much less programmers familiar with it.”

BY THE NUMBERS: 8 security considerations for IPv6 deployment

World IPv6 Day participants say the event was advertized to everybody in the Internet engineering community, including hackers, and they are beefing up the security measures on their sites accordingly.

“This is a well-publicized event,” says John Brzozowski, distinguished engineer and chief architect for IPv6 at Comcast, which is participating in World IPv6 Day both as a provider of IPv6-based cable modem services and as an operator of seven IPv6-enabled websites. “Anything can happen. IPv6 is no different than any other new technology. The potential [for attacks] is there. Protecting the network is key to us.”


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HTC Trophy (Verizon Wireless)

Want less stress in your OS? Consider sauntering over from a cattle-spooking ‘droid to the more relaxing Windows Phone 7. The HTC Trophy ($149), the first Windows Phone 7 for Verizon Wireless, has an easy-to-use operating system that’s great for most basic smartphone functions. The phone is especially good for gaming, though we’d warn against using it if you’re heavy into photography.

 

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Design and Voice Performance
The HTC Trophy is a pretty nondescript black slab. It isn’t particularly slim or light, although it’s refreshingly smaller than 4.3-inch-screen phones like the gargantuan Motorola Droid X2 ($199.99, 3.5 stars). The 3.8-inch, 800-by-480 screen is thoroughly average, but fine to look at outdoors, and it appears sharp because the pixels are spread over less of a physical area than on larger phones. The soft-touch black plastic back shows a large metal bulge, which is the 5-megapixel camera with its flash.

All our measurements of voice quality were somewhat above average: The Trophy has a fine earpiece, a perfectly decent speakerphone, and acceptable reception. The amount of side tone, the echo of your voice in your ear which prevents you from yelling, was ideal. The Trophy connected easily to our Bluetooth headset, an Aliph Jawbone Era, ($129, 4.5 stars) and was accurate with voice dialing, though it doesn’t offer other voice commands. Battery life, at 5 hours, 3 minutes of talk time, was within the acceptable range but shorter than we’d like. That goes for standby time, too; sometimes, during the test period, our Trophy didn’t last a full day of regular use. Amusingly, Microsoft now owns Skype, but this is the only major Verizon smartphone not to support Skype Mobile. That gap will be filled later this year, Microsoft has said.

The Trophy runs on Verizon’s EVDO Rev A 3G network; it also has Wi-Fi. That means it connects to the Internet at speeds of around 1Mbps, considerably slower than Verizon’s new 4G phones. I bashed the Droid X2 for not having 4G, but it purports to be a high-end device; I don’t think entry-level users will mind the missing speed as much. And like all Windows Phones, the Trophy doesn’t work as a modem for a laptop.
Specifications

Service Provider    Verizon Wireless
Operating System    Windows Phone 7
Screen Size    3.8 inches
Screen Details    800-by-480, 16M-color TFT LCD capacitive touch screen
Camera    Yes
Network    CDMA
Bands    850, 1900
High-Speed Data    1xRTT, EVDO Rev A
Processor Speed    1 GHz

OS and Apps
If I was to try to capture mobile OSes in one word, the word for iOS would be “apps.” For BlackBerries, “messaging.” For Android, it might be “customizable.” For Windows Phone 7, it’s “simple.”

Take a look at our review of Windows Phone 7 for a deeper dive into the OS. Here’s the short version: WP7 has a scrollable home screen of “live tiles” that open up into “hubs” of similar activities. For instance, the Games Hub lets you download games, play games, fiddle with your XBox Live avatar or check your in-game achievements.

The tiles are customizable, so you can do things like pin your favorite contacts to the home screen. Scroll to the right and you get a full list of installed apps; there are about 18,000 to choose from as of this writing. This fall, the Trophy, like other Windows Phones, will get a major upgrade called “Mango” with 500 new features; for a look at some of them, see our Mango walkthrough.

All Windows Phones share very similar hardware, so they all perform similarly. All have 1GHz Qualcomm QSD8260 Snapdragon processors, 800-by-480 screens, 5-megapixel cameras, and 3G rather than 4G.

Gaming is a real strength here. Windows Phones don’t have the pure hardware chops of Nvidia Tegra 2-based devices like the T-Mobile G2x ($199.99, 4 stars). But they make up for it with games that are fun, well-written and unique. I’d argue that the Windows Phone game selection looks more like the stuff you’d find on a home console than even the list of titles for the game-centric Sony Ericsson Xperia Play ($199.99, 3.5 stars).

As you’d expect, Microsoft Office integration is also excellent, with a terrific Exchange client and Word, Excel and PowerPoint apps. The phone integrates well with Facebook, although Twitter is left to third-party apps.

The Web and mapping experience relies heavily on Bing. In my tests, the GPS locked onto my location without any problems, but I find Bing Maps clumsier and more inaccurate than Google Maps. The Web browser displays pages clearly and well, but without Flash.

Multimedia Support
Like other Windows Phones, the Trophy is also a Zune media player, which means it connects to Zune software on PCs and to Windows Phone Connector on Macs to seamlessly sync pretty much all of your non-protected media. The phone comes with Netflix and Slacker preloaded, and Pandora, YouTube, and SlingPlayer apps are all available for download, although Hulu isn’t. The Zune software takes care of converting files into a format that’s appropriate for the phone. Music sounds good over wired or Bluetooth headphones; if you’re watching video, though, you need to use a wired set, as it won’t stream the sound from videos over Bluetooth.

The Trophy falls short when it’s capturing media, though. The 5-megapixel camera takes soft photos that are blown out in good light and either blurry or noisy in low light. The continuous autofocus initially looks like a good idea. Because the camera is constantly focusing, you can snap a shot in a blazing 0.3 seconds. But sometimes it didn’t lock on, leading to painfully blurry pictures.

The video recording mode captures decent 640-by-480 video at 30 frames per second outdoors, and some rather jaggy, pulsing 720p HD video at 24 frames per second. Indoors with low light, my test recordings were very jerky, dropping to 12 or even 10 frames per second. If you’re looking for an ace camera phone, pick up a Motorola Droid X2 instead.

Conclusions
The HTC Trophy is a pleasantly unassuming device that makes a terrific first smartphone, or a step up from a BlackBerry for someone who doesn’t feel like doing all of the furniture-arranging that comes with the Android experience. The Trophy’s top competitor on Verizon is, of course, the Apple iPhone 4 ($199, 4 stars), which has many more apps and a far superior camera, which earn it a higher rating. Ultimately, though, if you like the look of the Windows Phone 7 interface, the Trophy is a good introduction.


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