Who cares? The first question that needs to be asked about any new survey is whether there's a hidden agenda in conducting the survey in the first place.
Here is a textbook example of what I mean.
I ran into a report on a very reputable technology news site this week reporting the survey results of IT professionals and their plans to upgrade to Windows 7. The survey was put out by KACE, a systems management company (clue #1: not a research company or news organization or university, etc.).
The results that other journalists bit on had to do with the very lopsided percentage of IT professionals that supposedly plan on postponing a migration to Windows 7 within the next year (83%, for the record). The top reasons cited was trepidation about operating system upgrades after the disasters known as Vista and the economy.
Hmm... interesting! It got my attention.
But then I drilled down into the report (I need to get a life, I know!).
There were all these other results specifically addressing specific financial concerns about rolling out an operating system upgrade. Namely, it requires too much human time migrating everyone on the company network to a new operating system and dealing with all the inevitable glitches, crashes and application conflicts. The survey highlights some pretty logical concerns. Namely with many IT departments scaled back from layoffs, there are fewer bodies to upgrade all those desktops. True, true!
But guess what KACE sells? Yup, hardware solutions for automating things like, oh, operating system upgrades.
The shame of it is that the survey may actually represent a credible reality of how IT departments will likely react to the upcoming release of Windows 7. However, who would know when the survey is so tainted with bias?
Moral to the story: always, always, always consider the source.
On a lighter note, here's an example of how creativity can be the ultimate survival tool in this wretched economy.
The state of New York's budget, like every other state, federal and local budget, is being cut to the bone. Dire times call for dire cuts. Right?
Wrong! Wrong, that is, if you're talking about cute little animals in confined spaces.
Governor Patterson of New York has been threatening to cut funding for The Bronx Zoo and more than 70 other zoos and botanical gardens around the state by 55%. Yipes!
However, it's not just the Bronx Bombers that play hardball south of the Saw Mill Parkway. The lemurs, the Indian peafowl and the joeys have a message for the governor, "fuhgedaboudit". It turns out that they know a guy.
They sent in their first string PR assault team to handle it; a porcupine.
The above PSA, put out on Youtube (of course), was one of two viral videos using humor to make a point - and tug at a lot of heart strings. It worked. 83,000 signatures later, Governor Patterson has lost his title as alpha dog to a zoo full of critters. And for those of you who have recently been laid off in the state of New York, good news! You won't be competing with a alligator snapping turtle at your next job interview.
Last updated: Apr 14, 2009
RENEE ORICCHIO is a technology writer and former supervising news producer for CNN Financial News. She has been covering the computer industry since 1987. @oricchio