Sunday, January 3, 2010

Network Engineers for Peace

CCIEs without Borders

Information Technology has not always trod upon the glory road. It rose to prominence as companies began to realize that Information Management was eclipsing the paperbound capabilities of their staff. Searching reams of paper to locate a piece of archived data became nearly impossible especially as a cross reference might be needed. So IT/IM became a blessing for companies to streamline and make swift the ability to access data and to create information stores. Slowly, very slowly we the IT folks were beginning to justify our expense to our companies. We were still considered a group of professionals with no cost justification. I recall trying to work through the expenditure matrixes created to purchase furniture and making it relevant to Servers, Wiring Closets and Desktop PC Operating Systems. It was not unusual for a bean counter to ask me to quantify the value of my department. What was it worth to keep the CIO, AP/AR, Secretaries and staff connected to the servers and the applications they needed running? Heck, to me it was a no brainer, I strongly believed, in fact I knew that nothing could get done without IT. One day one of my wiring closets lost a hub and with it went the CIO and President of the company’s ability to send email. Suddenly IT was important and just as suddenly I was given my first real budget.

Fast forward not to today, no, just to the 80s. We started seeing the predecessor to electronic commerce as ATM or Telephone Banking. After ARPANET closed out the end of the 60s holding out no real hope to those of us still in High School like me, but the 70s and 80s started getting me all worked up. PC software was just starting to take hold at least where I was working. I was running mainframes from IBM and Amdahl feeding mountains of paper into printers as I mounted platters and tapes into drives for the Credit Union back in Dallas. Then in the mid-90s the news was out when Yahoo, MSN, Amazon and eBay started drawing hits and Internet traffic eclipsed a quarter of a million.

Just 15 years ago we saw the beginning of a revolution, a revolution of information access. What followed was a new freedom of speech as people began to socialize and exchange even more than just hard facts, but social realities.

The sharing of data propelled the human genome project and is providing information critical in the tracking of pandemics. No longer was the internet’s reputation base upon chat sites and pornographic images. The internet became a vehicle for change a Cadillac driven by many many independent wandering gnomes who were not afraid to cross the borders. Today thousands of URLs are cropping up daily these masses have been given a freedom of speech that are not supported by their own countries laws or actions. So we have arrived at a place in the evolution of the internet where we can intentionally make a difference, not just collaterally as was sometimes the case.

The work done by network engineers and IT professionals all over the world has engineered a nest in the ether like many birds have done for centuries to nestle and bring up their prodigy. We have had woven beneath us a place, safe from laws that are forced upon the masses at borders they cross.

No borders, no reason for war, right? No restrictions on information, no wars right?

There are real places and real things happening outside the virtual space we are so comfortable in. There are remote clinics treating the displaced, treating the sick and treating the victims of HIV/AIDS as well as schools treating the minds of children where books are hard to find. You can make a difference and peace can be the outcome. I ask you to be a network engineer for peace in 2010 as I extend free support to some of these very needy institutions and people making a difference without enough funding. Won’t you join us here in the CCIE Flyer to donate your time to reach across borders to help keep them on-line? I am looking for volunteers and those who may need more experience to add to the resume while making a noble effort to reach out and help others.

I will not use anyone’s information who volunteers for recruiting or other purposes.


Peace in 2010!

Eman Conde,
CCIE Flyer

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