Hello and Happy New Year everyone!  

I hope this newsletter finds you healthy, happy and ready for a productive 2010.

It’s hard to image it was ten years ago that many around the world breathed a collective sigh of relief as the technology concerns around Y2K were much ado about nothing.  I remember, like I’m sure you do, people being concerned about computers ability to understand successfully four-digit years, instead of the historical and shortsighted two digit shortcuts, in other words that 2000 was a year after 1999 and not one hundred years before.  Of course the real concern was not your or my desktop computer although it had us applying operating systems patches with great anxiety.  The real fears were the  systems we have become so dependent on.  Electrical grids, air-traffic control systems, banking & billing systems were just a few of the major infrastructures that had become heavily computerized and feared could come to a screeching halt.

While some may believe there never was a real concern, many in my profession tend to feel it was because of being prepared and making changes that most people don’t see.  That is often a life of an IT employee.  While many folks on campus know the people in IT who have more visible roles (e.g. Brien & Christian at the Helpdesk) there are many other important technologists in less visible yet equally important roles.  In many ways the less you need to know about the work the rest of us do, the more successful we are.  When there are problems, you hear from us and need to know about what we are doing to fix them.  When things are running smoothly you are focused on your task and not ours.  So, if you don’t know many of us in IT, we will consider that a modest success.

While I just stated being behind the scenes is good, that doesn’t mean I shouldn’t draw attention to my IT colleagues, especially when they are about to retire.  This upcoming spring semester two of my wonderful colleagues in IT will be retiring.  Betty O’Connor is the Associate Director in IT Enterprise Systems and will be retiring in April after working at Skidmore for 21 years.  In addition, Tom Travis is a Consultant in IT User Services and will be retiring in March after having worked at Skidmore for 24 years.  Whether programming enterprise-wide systems, or fixing computers and printers across the campus Betty and Tom have served Skidmore exceptionally and we will miss both of them professionally and personally.  If you see Betty or Tom in the coming months please take a moment and congratulate them on their retirement and thank then for their exceptional technology service to the college.

I hope you have an excellent spring semester.  There are many things happening technologically which you will learn about through the remainder of this newsletter.  As always, if you would like to discuss technology at Skidmore with me please reach out to me.  I’d welcome the opportunity.

Justin Sipher
Chief Technology Officer

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