Friday, October 29, 2010

Fundamentals Concepts of Excellence

The Fundamental Concepts of Excellence are the underlying principles of the EFQM Excellence. Model which are the essential foundation of achieving sustainable excellence for any organisations.

Achieving Balanced Results
Excellent organisations meet their Mission and progress towards their Vision through planning and achieving a balanced set of results that meet both the short and long term needs of their stakeholders and, where relevant, exceed them.

Adding Value for Customers
Excellent organisations know that customers are their primary reason for being and strive to innovate and create value for them by understanding and anticipating their needs and expectations.

Leading with Vision, Inspiration & Integrity
Excellent organisations have leaders who shape the future and make it happen, acting as role models for its Values and ethics.

Managing by Processes
Excellent organisations are managed through structured and strategically aligned processes using fact-based decision making to create balanced and sustained results.

Succeeding through People
Excellent organisations value their people and create a culture of empowerment for the balanced achievement of organisational and personal goals.

Nurturing Creativity & Innovation
Excellent organisations generate increased value and levels of performance through continual and systematic innovation by harnessing the creativity of their stakeholders.

Building Partnerships
Excellent organisations seek, develop and maintain trusting relationships with various partners to ensure mutual success. These partnerships may be formed with customers, society, key suppliers, educational bodies or Non-Governmental Organisations (NGO).

Taking Responsibility for a Sustainable Future
Excellent organisations embed within their culture an ethical mindset, clear Values and the highest standards of organisational behaviour, all of which enable them to strive for economic, social and ecological sustainability.

(Resouces :

Monday, October 25, 2010

Bytes, Megabytes, and Gigabytes

Hard disk space and random access memory (RAM) are measured in megabytes and gigabytes. First, you need to understand the basic unit in this numbering scheme—the bit. A bit is the basic unit of information in the binary numbering system, representing either 0 (for off) or 1 (for on). Computers read binary numbers, or strings of 0s and 1s.

Bits are grouped to form larger storage units, the most common of which is a byte. Bytes are made up of 7 and 8 bits, which, collectively, are also known as an octet. The word byte is a contraction of BinarY digiT Eight. The most important thing to remember here is that a byte usually holds one character—such as a number, letter, or symbol.

Bytes represent very small amounts of storage, so they are usually grouped in larger quantities. A kilobyte (KB) contains 1,024 bytes. You’ll see your file sizes in the Windows Explorer, for example, listed in kilobytes if the files are small. The prefix kilo indicates 1,000 in the metric system.

A megabyte (MB) contains 1,048,576 bytes. The prefix mega represents 1 million in the metric system and is used for file size, as well as for computer memory and hard disk capacity. A gigabyte (GB) contains 1,073,741,824 bytes. The prefix giga represents 1 billion in the metric system. You generally see gigabytes when talking about hard disk capacity. Large gigabyte hard drives now are the norm; you can purchase 40GB drives with no problem in a computer these days.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

The appearance of the PC (personal computer)

Ted Hoff at Intel invented the microprocessor in 1971. At the same time, IBM invented the floppy disk as a convenient, small and cheap means of storing computer data. Now, using a single processor chip, complemented by a few memory chips and input/output devices, it was possible to create a working micro-computer. The first commercially available computer kit (the MITS Altair) duly appeared in 1975, and the Commodore PET computer was the hit of 1977. A period of intense further development of the microprocessor chip took place at Intel. The 8086 chip was released in 1979 and the 8088 in 1980.

Based on the Intel 8088 microprocessor, the IBM PC (personal computer) appeared in August 1981 . This set the standard for PCs as we know them today. The IBM PC incorporated the DOS (disk operating system) software developed by the Micro-Soft company (later renamed Microsoft) which had been set up by Bill Gates and Paul Allen in 1975. By 1983, a new version of the IBM PC, the IBM PC XT, included a hard disk for storage of data.

Apple Computer, founded by Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak in 1976, introduced the Macintosh computer in 1984. It revolutionised personal computing with the graphical user interface (GUI), the use of a mouse to ‘point and click’ and the opening of different ‘windows’ for different tasks. Microsoft quickly reacted by introducing a new operating system software, Microsoft Windows, in 1985. The ‘look and feel’ of Microsoft Windows were so similar to the Macintosh operating system that it led Apple Computer to file a lawsuit.

The role of UNIX in the development of the Internet

In 1969, the UNIX computer operating system was developed by Ken Thompson of AT&T Bell Laboratories. It has turned out to be one of the most powerful and widely accepted computer operating systems for computer and telephone exchange systems requiring multitasking and multi-user capabilities.

Standard UNIX commands allow for access to computer files, programs, storage and other resources. Encouraged by the hardware volumes purchased by AT&T (American Telegraph and Telephone company), UNIX was quickly adopted by many computer manufacturers as their standard operating system, so that computer programs and other applications written for UNIX could easily be ported (i.e., moved with only very few changes) from one computer system to another.

Most importantly for the development of the Internet, one of the participants in the ARPANET, the University of California in Berkeley, at the request of DARPA, wrote an extension to UNIX to incorporate the newly developed TCP/IP protocols. This version of UNIX was called UNIX 4.2BSD(Berkeley System Distribution). It was immediately used in the ARPANET and was released to the public domain in 1983. It opened the door for rapid further development of applications for file transfer between computers and for a more-widely standardised form of email. The embedding of TCP/IP within UNIX also made UNIX servers the natural choice of hardware for web servers, which would appear later.

Understanding Protocal and Network Standards

A standard is an agreed-upon definition of a protocol. In the early days of computer networking, each computer manufacturer developed its own networking protocols. As a result, you weren’t able to easily mix equipment from different manufacturers on a single network. Then along came standards to save the day.

Standards are industry-wide protocol definitions that are not tied to a particular manufacturer. With standard protocols, you can mix and match equipment from different vendors. As long as the equipment implements the standard protocols, it should be able to coexist on the same network. Many organizations are involved in setting standards for networking. The five most important organizations are:-

  1. American National Standards Institute (ANSI): The official standards organization in the United States. ANSI is pronounced An-See. (
  2. Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE): An international organization that publishes several key networking standards; in particular, the official standard for the Ethernet networking system (known officially as IEEE 802.3). IEEE is pronounced Eye-triple-E. (
  3. International Organization for Standardization (ISO): A federation of more than 100 standards organizations from throughout the world. If I had studied French in high school, I’d probably understand why the acronym for International Organization for Standardization is ISO, and not IOS. (
  4. Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF): The organization responsible for the protocols that drive the Internet. (
  5. World Wide Web Consortium (W3C): An international organization that handles the development of standards for the World Wide Web. (

Saturday, October 23, 2010


Tuntutan sembahyang dalam Islam mempunyai banyak faedah dan manfaat kepada umat yang menunaikannya samada di dunia mahupun di akhirat. Keutamaannya dalam suasana kehidupan harian jelas tertera dalam ayat-ayat Allah (S.W.T) dan berikut ini disalinkan beberapa darinya agar dapat dijadikan iktibar dan pelajaran.


Iman, amal, sembahyang dan zakat adalah antara 4 perkara yang jikalau disempurnakan tuntutannya oleh seorang muslim akan memberikannya ketenangan serta kemudahan suasana kehidupan. Firman Allah:-

“Sesungguhnya orang-orang yang beriman, mengerjakan amal saleh, mendirikan sembahyang dan menunaikan zakat, mereka mendapat pahala di sisi Tuhannya. Tidak ada kekhawatiran terhadap mereka dan tidak (pula) mereka bersedih hati” - Surah Al-Baqarah (2):277


Sembahyang yang didirikan dengan penuh kesempurnaan dan kekhusyu’kan akan mengarah seseorang itu kepada kejayaan yang hakiki, iaitu kejayaan yang diredhai Allah (S.W.T). Dia menerangkan hakikat ini dengan firman Nya:-

“Sesungguhnya berjayalah orang-orang yang beriman. Iaitu mereka yang khusyu’ dalam sembahyangnya” - Surah Al-Mu’minun (23):1-2


Melatih diri dengan tetap bersembahyang lima kali sehari dapat membina sebuah jiwa yang kuat lagi berprinsip, apabila susah ia tetap dalam ketenangan dan apabila ia senang ia tetap juga dalam ketenangan, tidak resah, tidak runsing, tidak bongkak dan tidak sombong. Begitulah sifat yang dimiliki oleh orang yang tetap menjaga sembahyangnya, sebagaimana terang Allah dalam ayat berikut:-

“Sesungguhnya manusia itu dijadikan berta’biat resah gelisah (lagi bakhil kedekut). Apabila ia ditimpa kesusahan, ia sangat resah gelisah. Dan apabila ia beroleh kesenangan, ia sangat bakhil kedekut, kecuali orangorang yang mengerjakan sembahyang. Iaitu mereka yang tetap mengerjakan sembahyang” - Surah Al-Maarij (70):19-23


Orang yang bersembahyang dan menjemput agar orangorang lain turut serta, mereka dijanjikan Allah (S.W.T) akan Rahmat Nya dan tiadalah dapat tertulis apakah itu Rahmat Allah kerana keluasannya yang amat tidak terhingga. Hayatilah firman Allah berikut ini:

“Dan orang-orang yang beriman, lelaki dan perempuan, sebahagian mereka (adalah) menjadi penolong bagi sebahagian yang lain. Mereka menyuruh (mengerjakan) yang ma’ruf, mencegah dari yang mungkar, mendirikan sembahyang, menunaikan zakat dan mereka ta’at kepada Allah dan Rasul Nya. Mereka itu akan diberi Rahmat oleh Allah; sesungguhnya Allah Maha Perkasa lagi Maha Bijaksana” - Surah At-Taubah (9):71


Orang yang melazimkan dirinya selalu bersembahyang akan terhindar dari perbuatan yang jahat lagi keji. Ada dua sebab dia berjaya sedemikian, pertama ialah kerana pemiliharaan Allah (S.W.T) kepada hamba Nya itu kerana sememangnya Rahmat Allah bersama orang yang bersembahyang; kedua ialah kesedaran orang yang bersembahyang itu sendiri, sudah tentu dia enggan mencemari amal ibadah dirinya dengan kotoran kemaksiatan.

Jikalau kemaksiatan dan amal sembahyang masih bercampur aduk bagi seseorang itu maka perlu diperiksa sembahyangnya itu samaada ia bertepatan dengan kaedah yang diajar oleh Nabi (s.a.w) atau perlu juga diperiksa dirinya sendiri kerana mungkin sahaja kemaksiatan itu sengaja dikehendaki oleh dirinya sendiri. Keberhasilan sembahyang menghindar kejahatan dinyatakan oleh Allah (S.W.T) dalam firman Nya:-

“Dan dirikanlah sembahyang (dengan tekun, sesungguhnya sembahyang itu mencegah dari perbuatan yang keji dan mungkar” - Surah Al-Ankabuut (29):45


Sembahyang dan doa kepada Allah amat kuat berhubungkait, memberikan gambaran bahawa antara dua itu tidak boleh dipisahkan. Seseorang yang tetap bersembahyang, doanya mudah dan cepat dijawab oleh Allah (S.W.T) asal sahaja disertai kesabaran, manakala orang yang meremehkan sembahyang, Allah akan meremehkan doanya.

Kajilah firman Allah dalam ayat berikut:-

“Dan mintalah pertolongan (kepada Allah) dengan jalan sabar dan mengerjakan sembahyang”

Allah mengulangi firman Nya dalam sepotong ayat yang lain:-

“Wahai sekalian orang-orang yang beriman. Mintalah pertolongan dengan bersabar dan dengan (mengerjakan) sembahyang; kerana sesungguhnya Allah menyertai (menolong) orang-orang yang sabar”


Amalan sembahyang fardhu lima kali sehari tidaklah ia bertujuan menghalang seseorang itu dari meneruskan kerja dan usaha duniawinya tetapi bermaksud sebagai satu gandingan (complement) antara satu sama lain bagi mencapai kejayaan yang sebenar-benarnya.

Allah (S.W.T) hanya mewajibkan kita menunaikan kewajipan sembahyang lima kali sehari dalam waktuwaktunya yang tertentu sahaja manakala lebih masa yang ada diharuskan bagi kita mencari rezeki di dunia.

Perhatikanlah hal ini adalah surah berikut di mana Allah hanya mewajibkan kita mendatangi sembahyang apabila masuk waktunya (dalam kes ini ialah sembahyang Jumaat) dan tidak pula Dia menghalang kita daripada apa-apa urusan lain sebelum atau selepas waktu sembahyang itu. FirmanNya:-

“Wahai orang-orang yang beriman, apabila diserukan azan (bang) untuk mengerjakan sembahyang pada hari Jumaat, maka segeralah kamu pergi (ke masjid) untuk mengingati Allah (dengan mengerjakan sembahyang Jumaat) dan tinggalkanlah berjual beli (pada saat itu); yang demikian adalah baik bagi kamu jika kamu mengetahui (hakikat yang sebenarnya). Kemudian setelah selesai sembahyang maka bertebaranlah kamu di muka bumi (untuk menjalankan urusan masing-masing), dan carilah apa yang kamu hajati dari limpah kurnia Allah, serta ingatlah akan Allah banyak-banyak (dalam segala keadaan) supaya kamu berjaya (di dunia dan di akhirat)”

Ayat ini adalah juga sebagai dalil bahawa Islam bukanlah agama akhirat sahaja atau agama yang membenci dunia tetapi ia adalah agama yang menekankan kehidupan dunia dan akhirat, rohani dan jasmani. Malah bahagian kedua ayat tersebut (ayat10) mengandungi suruhan yang hampir berupa perintah agar dicari dan diusahakan urusan dunia asalkan tidak lalai sehingga melupakan Allah. Orang yang dapat mengerti hakikat ini, iaitu prinsip mengimbangkan antara usaha duniawi dan ibadah ukhrawi lalu diterjemahkan kepada amal kehidupan hariannya pasti memperoleh limpah kurnia dan lebihan rezeki dari Allah yang Maha Kaya. Janji Allah kepada orang sebegini:-

“(Ibadat itu dikerjakan oleh) orang-orang yang kuat imannya yang tidak dilalaikan oleh perniagaan atau jualbeli daripada menyebut serta mengingati Allah, dan mendirikan sembahyang serta memberi zakat; mereka takutkan hari (kiamat) yang padanya berbalik-balik hati (Mereka mengerjakan semuanya itu) supaya Allah membalas mereka dengan sebaik-baik balasan bagi apa yang mereka kerjakan, dan menambahi mereka lagi dari limpah kurnia Nya; sememangnya Allah memberi rezeki kepada sesiapa yang dikehendaki Nya dengan tidak terhitung”.

Perimbangan yang adil antara urusan duniawi dan urusan ukhrawi adalah ajaran asas agama Islam jikalau ia dihayati secara keseluruhannya. Mengutamakan yang satu lalu mengenepikan yang lain hanya akan membawa kepada sesuatu yang lain dari tujuan syari’at yang sekian lengkap lagi sempurna ini. Justeru itulah kita dapati para sahabat Nabi (s.a.w) mengimbangi antara dunia dan akhirat dengan kata-kata hikmah:-

“Kerjakanlah urusan dunia kamu seolah-olah kamu akan hidup selama-lamanya dan kerjakanlah urusan akhirat kamu seolah-olah kamu akan mati pada esok harinya”

Malah bagi orang yang melalaikan sembahyang dan hanya terlalu sibuk dengan urusan duniawinya dia tidak boleh diamanahkan dengan apa-apa urusan orang Islam kerana diragui samada dia akan memegang amanah itu dengan sebenar-benarnya berprinsipkan Islam. Khalifah Islam kedua, Umar al-Khattab (r.a) dalam salah satu surat perlembagaannya kepada para gabenor kerajaan menulis:-

“Yang paling utama dalam urusan kamu dalam perkiraan aku ialah perlaksanaan sembahyang. Barangsiapa menjaganya dan memeliharanya dengan penuh keprihatinan maka dia sebenarnya telah menjaga deen agamanya; dan barangsiapa yang melalaikannya sudah pasti dia (juga) akan melalaikan urusanurusannya yang lain”11

Berpijak dari pesanan Umar al-Khattab ini, telah berkata Imam Ibnu Taimiyyah:

“Pemilik perusahaan yang benar-benar muslim tidak boleh mengambil pekerja dari kalangan orang yang meninggalkan sembahyang sebab memperkerjakan orang seperti itu bererti membantunya menggunakan rezeki yang diberikan Allah kepadanya untuk menambah-nambah dalam perbuatan yang derhaka. Manusia yang tidak mengenal kewajipan terhadap Allah yang telah mencipta dirinya sudah tentu juga tidak akan mengenal kewajipan terhadap sesama manusia bahkan akan meremehkannya sahaja”12 dan pandangan.

Friday, October 22, 2010

Simbols and Numbers

& (Ampersand) - The ampersand is used to indicate special characters in HTML (HypertextMarkup Language) documents—that is, documents for the World Wide Web. For example, & specifies the ampersand character (&); ö specifies a lowercase o with an umlaut, or dieresis, mark (ö).

< >(Angle Brackets) -Angle brackets are used in pairs to surround markup tags in HTML (Hypertext Markup Language) documents for the World Wide Web. For example,

indicates a paragraph break; and indicate the start and end of a section that is to be displayed in boldface.

* (Asterisk) - In several operating systems, the asterisk serves as a wildcard character: to represent one or more characters, such as in a file name or extension. For example, a* matches act, actor, and and, but not band. In pattern matching involving regular expressions, the asterisk matches the occurrences of the single character immediately preceding it. For example, ba*th matches bth, bath, and baaaaath, but not bbath. In e-mail and in other contexts that use plain text, asterisks are sometimes used around words or phrases to indicate emphasis. For example, “I *really* want to emphasize the second word in this sentence.”

10BaseX - The designations 10Base2, 10Base5, 10BaseF, and 10BaseT refer to various types of baseband Ethernet networks.

10BaseT - The 10BaseT is a baseband 802.3-based Ethernet network that uses unshielded twisted-pair (UTP) cable and a star topology. This version can operate at up to 10 Mbps. It is also known as twisted-pair Ethernet or UTP Ethernet.

110-Type Punch-Down Block -A device for terminating wires, with the possibility of connecting input and output wires. This type of punch-down block has generally replaced the older 66-type blocks originally used by the telephone company.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

SWOT Analysis

SWOT analysis is a common method for assessing where we are?. Here’s a closer look at the SWOT analysis


Strengths. What internal capabilities or assets give the organization a competitive advantage? In what ways does the organization serve its key internal and external stakeholders well?

Weaknesses. What internal capabilities or assets is the organization relatively ineffective or inefficient at performing or possessing, or so limited in capacity as to put it at a competitive disadvantage? In what ways does the organization fall short in serving key internal and external

Opportunities. What conditions or possible future conditions in the external environment might give the organization a competitive advantage and enhance achievement of its vision if taken advantage of?

Threats. What conditions or possible future conditions in the external environment might put the organization at a competitive disadvantage and inhibit achievement of its vision if steps are not taken to minimize their impact?

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Installing Twisted-Pair Cable - Installation guidelines

The hardest part about installing network cable is the physical task of pulling the cable through ceilings, walls, and floors. This job is just tricky enough that I recommend that you don’t attempt it yourself except for small offices. For large jobs, hire a professional cable installer. You may even want to hire a professional for small jobs if the ceiling and wall spaces are difficult to access. Here are some general pointers to keep in mind if you decide to install cable yourself:-
  1. When running cable, avoid sources of interference, such as fluorescent lights, big motors, X-ray machines, and so on. The most common source of interference for cables that are run behind fake ceiling panels are fluorescent lights; be sure to give light fixtures a wide berth as you run your cable. Three feet should do it.
  2. The maximum allowable cable length between the hub and the computer is 100 meters (about 328 feet).
  3. When you run cable above suspended ceiling panels, use cable ties, hooks, or clamps to secure the cable to the actual ceiling or to the metal frame that supports the ceiling tiles. Don’t just lay the cable on top of the tiles.
  4. When running cables through walls, label each cable at both ends.
Getting the tools that you need

Wire cutters: You need big ones for thinnet cable; smaller ones are okay for 10baseT cable. If you’re using yellow cable, you need the Jaws of Life.

A crimp tool: You need the crimp tool to attach the connectors to the cable. Don’t use a cheap $10 crimp tool. A good one will cost $100 and will save you many headaches in the long run. Remember this adage: When you crimp, you mustn’t scrimp.

Wire stripper: You need this only if the crimp tool doesn’t include a wire stripper.

7 Habits for Effectively Leading Healthcare Interoperability Initiatives

Habit 1: Be Proactive

The proactive habit can be applied in multiple ways to foster healthcare interoperability.

Flexibility in Data Transformation

First, there are multiple applications or healthcare providers that require patient information to be communicated in a specific data format. Each vendor or provider, of course, believes that their format should be the one followed. Consequently, one could be reactive and just wait for the other vendor or provider to change the way they accept or send patient data; however, doing this results in a stalemate. The better approach would be to act in a flexible manner and transform the data in the middle to the different specifications. An added benefit to this approach is the ability to implement a best-of-breed application approach, since the differing data formats can be transformed easily in the middle.

Leveraging Engine Technology

Second, working with other application vendors or medical device manufacturers can be a restraining experience. Waiting for point-to-point interfaces to be developed, delivered, and tied to their queues can be frustrating. Being proactive can be liberating. By leveraging interface engine technology, independence from various vendors can be gained while delivering healthcare interfaces to your customers in a more timely fashion.

Regional and Community Initiatives

Third, there are several regional or community based initiatives which are driving RHIOs or other healthcare interoperability efforts. Similarly, the Federal government has dedicated resources and issued directives around a more integrated healthcare system. Why do anything? Let the agencies and communities drive it. Although that is a possible approach to take, it is clearly a reactive one and may result in more pain later.

Organizations that take the initiative and are proactive in connecting with their departments or referring physician communities are realizing benefits today. From saving dollars with more efficient processes to increasing revenues by offering a better way to interact, the proactive approach can have a positive impact today while also offering a direction for struggling community initiatives.

IT Service

Finally, another proactive approach to healthcare interfacing is the way IT service levels are delivered. The reactive approach is to claim ignorance, because the monitoring capabilities are not available. The best proactive approach is to be alerted when an interfacing parameter has not met a defined threshold, and you receive a page or email with the change in status. Essentially, with this approach, you are the first to know and the first to respond. By being proactive in healthcare integration, the end result is:
  • Adaptability – being flexible to adapt to the various data requirements
  • Independence – removing total reliance on others to achieve your objectives
  • Satisfaction – delivering responsive customer service
With a proactive mindset and approach, the move from being dependent to being interdependent begins.

Habit 2: Begin with an End in Mind

What is the end game? Is it streamlined patient data flow? Is it robust, connected healthcare workflows? Is it physician outreach, connecting to practices in an electronic manner? Is it just doing it in a simpler, less costly, and easier to manage way?

Envisioning what healthcare interoperability means for your organization is important in developing and implementing the right strategy and healthcare IT tactics. You need a target. Like the old adage says, “If you aim at nothing, you'll hit it every time.” Direct your aim at the end in mind. If just connecting two applications to each other is the end game, then a point-to-point interface may be the best approach.

If monitoring a point-to-point interface while extending the leverage to other applications, then a mixed approach—point-to-point and interface engine—may be the best approach. If implementing a best of breed application strategy while connecting to referring physicians, laboratories, and imaging centers is the end game, then an integration platform may be the best approach.

Deciding what you want to achieve for your hospital, radiology practice, laboratory or clinic is important in deciding what integration approach should be taken. Without visualizing the end game, it usually translates into just muddling through. Muddling through costs more, frustrates more, and results in less. Recently, an executive director at a radiology practice was determining ways to offer better service to their referring physician community. The end game in her mind was delivering better service, and she knew that certain technology investments were necessary to realize that end game plan.

In her words, read the insights about how habits 1 and 2 came into play to move to a more interdependent approach.

“We knew we needed to integrate more technology across our practice. We needed to increase the efficiency of processes associated with billing and diagnostic reporting. In addition, we are receiving an increasing number of requests from referring physicians for HL7 interfaces. We wanted the control to respond quickly to these requests and the flexibility to accommodate all of the different HIS, PMS and EMR systems they might be using.”

With better service as the vision, the elements that needed to be in place in order to make it a reality came into full view.

Habit 3: Put First Things First

The patient is first. Delivering high quality patient care in a timely and accurate manner is fundamental. What helps facilitate putting patients first? There are many answers to this question. Having the right physicians, nurses, and other personnel is an essential part of the formula. Having the right facilities and equipment is a vital part of the formula. Having the right systems, applications, and ways to connect them is an integral part of the formula.

While the quality of care is largely determined by human hands, an expert mind and caring spirit, the delivery of the care is equally important. Healthcare IT plays a critical role by managing the systems and integrating the data flow. With IT support, the patient care experience becomes seamless through the various workflows.

In healthcare interoperability initiatives, key IT decisions need to be made in order to determine what needs to be put first. Decisions include:

Defining the integration benchmarks and desired results
  • Development cycle time
  • Deployment cycle time
  • Resource requirements
  • Manageability
Defining the desired turn around times
  • Delivering patient reports to referring physicians
  • Response time to correct a connection issue
  • Re-sending an HL7 message from log files
Defining the operational cost structure to the integration platform environment
  • Resource type required (e.g., Java engineer, IT analyst, etc.)
  • Cycle time requirements
  • Manageability requirements
These decisions along with others will drive your healthcare integration approach and aid in identifying which principles should come first.

For example, a large hospital used older technology to facilitate their integration efforts. The platform worked, but several issues arose. First, the existing integration platform required skilled Java developers, and these resources can be expensive. Second, the development and deployment cycle times for new interfaces were long and costly. Third, insight into how the interfaces were performing was challenging. On the surface, everything was working fine. Underneath the surface, challenges and issues were brewing, threatening to undermine the vision of delivering first-class patient experience.

Instead of waiting, the IT department took the initiative, explored new integration platforms, and initiated a migration. The result was better manageability of the integration environment and an exponential improvement in cycle times. In fact, over 30 interfaces were developed and deployed within the first six months after one training class.

Although the change was in the IT infrastructure, patient care was positively impacted. Key comments from the IT department included: “…our patients do not experience delays in the services they receive…” “We are able to deliver high quality patient care… orchestrating the clinical data flow between our healthcare applications.” With patient care coming first, the IT organization aligned itself to deliver.

Getting stuck in the IT issues (e.g., old technology platforms, “we’ve always done it this way,” etc.) keeps organizations in a dependent model. Moving beyond the typical IT issues and focusing on the important mission moves the overall organization beyond dependency.

Habit 4: Think Win/Win

With the first three habits firmly in place, independence is gained, and the transition from dependency to interdependency can begin. What does interdependency mean in healthcare? It means working with external healthcare providers in a seamless, integrated way. It also means facilitating data flow efficiently between different internal applications.

The seamless, productive interaction with external providers in tandem with high quality, effective data flow between internal applications is an interdependent healthcare environment. The end result of an interdependent healthcare community is enhanced patient care, including less frustration because the care experience is connected.

To gain these attributes of an interdependent healthcare environment, the first step is the win/win habit. How can healthcare IT organizations create win/win mindsets with others? Defining mutually beneficial terms is a start, and it needs to happen at three levels – with departments, external providers, and vendors. Often times, the IT mindset is:
  • Departments – “I’ll deal with it later.”
  • External providers – “How are we going to handle all these additional connection points?”
  • Vendors – “They want how much for one interface? What do you mean it will be six months to get that interface?”
All of these may be valid points, but coming in with that thought process will only push the vision back to one of dependency, not move it forward. The right mindset will help to structure the right approach to continue to move the healthcare interoperability initiatives in the right direction.

For example, a laboratory was doing business as usual. Getting interfaces from their LIS vendor was a long and costly process. At the same time, the CIO saw that many of their referring clinics were beginning to install EMR applications. With a win/win mindset, the CIO determined what their referring clinics required, and they explored new technologies to gain independence from their LIS vendor. By deploying an interface engine approach, healthcare interoperability happened to over 200 different physician offices. Without the mindset to determine a better approach, this would have been a story of lost business and lost opportunity. Instead, it is one of making a difference in their network of care.

Habit 5: Seek First to Understand, Then to Be Understood

Many times, we jump to what we need, rather than listening to what our partners are requesting. A simple question to ask to gain greater understanding should be “What are you going to do with the information that I give you?” By asking this question, it provides greater insight to how what you will deliver will be used. Many times, this will highlight additional information that will be required to deliver either to or above expectations.

Having a conversation without first understanding the other organization’s objectives, drivers, or concerns will be hollow. From one viewpoint, it will seem like one organization is dictating to the other. From another vantage point, it will be one of “they just don’t get it.” It is much easier to be understood when you first understand the other person or organization’s perspective.
As outlined above, there are three primary players in the healthcare interoperability picture, and each have a differing set of requirements. Understanding each, rather than assuming, is imperative.

Departments. In hospitals, there are many different ancillary applications that support critical functions for different departments. For example, the emergency room department has unique characteristics that require unique applications to support their activities. This extends to other departments from radiology to laboratory to dietary.

The departments are working diligently to perform their responsibilities in the most cost-effective, efficient manner possible. Interoperability is essential for departments in order to gain access to patient information quickly.

What are the key drivers for each department? Understanding the answer to this question will lead to a better understanding. Two key areas to explore include:
  • Integration points – What patient information is required? Are all the points of integration internal or are there external points as well?
  • Manageability – What level of involvement does the department want in terms of integration? Do they want the flexibility to build their own interfaces? Do they want the insight to know the status of the interface points? Do they want to troubleshoot or resend patient messages if problems occur?
Listening and understanding to what is needed will help craft the right approach.

External providers. External providers depend on your perspective. In many cases, it is the physicians who refer patients; the laboratories who conduct the standard or special tests; or the imaging centers who take, read, and analyze detailed images. The key areas to explore include:

Capabilities – What level of capability do the external providers have to electronically send or receive patient information? What time schedule are they on to be electronically connected with selected hospitals?
Systems – What systems will accept the information (e.g., EMR, RIS, HIS, LIS, etc.), and what data format is acceptable (e.g., HL7, CCR, etc.)?

Vendors. With vendors, the conversations can sometimes be demanding. Granted, vendors create some of the problems in enabling a cost-effective approach to integrating various applications together. It is like a struggle between countries. Each country has their own interests and wants to protect their boundaries and their sovereignty.

Understanding the perspective of the vendor may be critical to determining the best approach. This will be the toughest challenge for many providers to do, but a vital one. By understanding the vendor’s approach to integration or interfacing, you will be able to better define your organization’s healthcare interoperability approach.

Habit 6: Synergize

Although the word “synergize” is an overused term in the business world, it is critical to work with people from other departments or organizations with which you are trying to connect. If interdependence is to be achieved, then the sum of all the parts needs to work consistently and effectively with the whole.

What does synergize actually mean? Another term for synergy is alliance. In the healthcare environment, instead of treating each party as a department or vendor, it may be better to treat them as alliances. For alliances to work, everyone involved needs to work together. That is the point of synergy, and it is necessary to make connected healthcare initiatives work.

A few quick points:
  • Do you involve other departments in the process of determining the best way to improve the flow of patient data?
  • Do you work with your vendors to solve problems?
  • Do you work with your referring physician community or reference laboratories or imaging centers to understand their requirements or to solve interoperability issues?
  • Are you viewed as an alliance partner in your connected healthcare community or as an individual part?
  • How much can your organization take on? Is there another approach to gain leverage?
The key point – recognize the individual difference but work to build an alliance with all the individual organizations involved. It is not an easy task, but each of the habits provide for a direction to realize this important point.

Examples of building synergy occur within provider organizations as well as vendor organizations. One example of building synergy is offered from a vendor perspective. Many development organizations try to do it all – build the best features for their application, build the best infrastructure platform in which their application is based, build the best way to capture customer requests into new releases, etc. In reality, doing it all internally can stretch resources and can become uneconomical.

One such vendor was in that situation. It was trying to release new features while also attempting to offer a robust integration platform to meet every customer requirement and incorporate every new healthcare standard that came along. Fractures soon began to emerge as the weight of their “do-it-all” approach bore down on the development staff. Consequently, the R&D director began to open up the approach and look at alternatives.

One alternative was to create an alliance with another company that could offer the integration platform to meet any client requirement and any healthcare standard. Through a collaborative partnership, focus returned to offering new features to meet growing customer requirements while offering robust integration through a seamless partnership. Growth in features, growth in revenue, and growth in customer satisfaction were happening in tandem. Although different habits were utilized to get to this point, this story illustrates synergy at its best.

Habit 7: Sharpen the Saw

If there is only one thing that we can do in our life or in our organizations, it should be to look continuously for ways to improve. Whether it is in our client relationships, the way we solve our problems, or the way that we approach solutions, keeping our eyes open to new ways to do things is a must. This process of renewal will keep progress moving forward.

To achieve healthcare interoperability in our communities, continuous improvement is a must, because – if for no other reason – there are so many changes to which we need to adapt. There is a simple choice – adapt and improve or maintain the status quo and keep the paper flowing.

Improvements can be realized in many different areas including:
  • Resources required to build, test, and implement a connected community
  • Mindset in working with various constituencies – departments, providers, and vendors, etc.
  • Processes or workflows – understanding the desired flow and mapping the right technology to support the vision
  • Technology platforms to support healthcare interoperability
The improvements can be realized through many different resources. From workshops and trade shows to case studies, white papers, and blogs, there are many different avenues to continue to grow and adapt. There also is simple interaction. Talking with people from similar or different organizations to gain their perspectives can open the thought process. Setting aside the time to learn and improve is the first step.


The demands for healthcare interoperability are clearly increasing. How the demands are met will determine the success rate. Stephen Covey provided a great framework to work through most issues and realize most visions. Although it is a practical approach, it is challenging to adopt the habits and make the changes necessary to stop the inherent dependencies and move to a more interdependent environment.

Organizations are achieving varying degrees of success in pursuing an integrated healthcare community. It may be through brute force, new ways, or just luck. Leveraging and using the 7 Habits is one way to make a longer-term impact on the goals and will make the process of getting there more rewarding.

Healthcare interoperability and the 7 Habits seem like a match made for success.

Among the VoIP Manufacturers

Avaya (

Avaya makes a wide variety of communications systems and software, including voice, converged voice and data, customer relationship management, messaging multiservice networking, and structured cabling products and services. According to Gartner, Avaya’s “status as a leader is in part based on the architecture of its Avaya MultiVantage Communications Applications suite, which emphasizes an extensive feature set, scalability, consistent user interface, call processing power, and investment protection.”

Cisco Systems (

Cisco Systems makes networking solutions and network hardware and software, including converging voice and data products. According to Gartner, Cisco has “leveraged its strength in large-scale LAN infrastructure markets to win mind share among early adopters of converged networks. Its dealers are extremely effective in selling IT organizations, where many traditional telephony vendors are gaining credibility.”

Alcatel (

Alactel provides communications solutions to telecommunication carriers, Internet service providers, and enterprises. A publicly traded company with fifty-six thousand employees worldwide, Alcatel’s focus is the delivery of voice, data, and video applications to customers and employees. Their OmniPCX communications platform enables a company to selectively operate using traditional or IP telephony methods. The platform is capable of supporting hybrid operations as well.

Siemens (

Siemens is a publicly traded company that manufactures electronics and equipment for a range of industries, including information and communications, automation and control, power generation, transportation, medical, and lighting. They provide mobile communication and telephone communication systems to businesses and mobile phones and accessories to consumers. Siemens employs approximately seventy thousand people in the United States and four-hundred-thirty thousand worldwide, with global sales of more than $91 billion in 2004.


Founded in 1905, NEC makes products ranging from computer hardware and software to wireless and IP telephony systems. For the fiscal year ending March 2005, NEC recorded more than $624 million in revenue. They employ about one-hundred-fifty thousand people worldwide.

According to Gartner, “NEC’s portfolio offers various levels of converged IP capabilities, a multitude of features, scalability, and investment protection. Their platforms have an excellent reputation in the education, hospitality, and healthcare vertical markets, with attributes that can attract other organizations with distributed campus environments. NEC Unified Solutions strategy offers a menu of services that support the planning, implementation, network readiness and ongoing service needs of IP telephony.”

Yealink (

Yealink is professional designer and manufacturer of IP phones and video phones for the world-wide broadband telephony market. Yealink products are fully compatible with the SIP industry standard, and have broad interoperability with the major IP-PBX, softswitch and IMS on the market today. High-quality, easy to use and affordable price-are what Yealink strive all the time to meet.

Founded in 2001 in Xiamen, China, Yealink has 9 years VoIP experience and has been 100% focusing on VoIP products. Also the core team has 16 years experience in telephone. More than 60 R&D VoIP engineers prove the innovative strength of the company by developing new VoIP product and technology constantly. All of these guarantee and backup Yealink's possibility of constantly providing world-class IP phone and establish Yealink as one of the leading designers and manufactures.

Yealink phones are characterized by a large number of functions which simplify the businesses communication with high standard of security and can work seamlessly with a large number of compatible IP-PBX that support Session Initiation Protocol (SIP).

Yealink also distinguished itself by years of experience at tailoring up the customized needs of different levels of businesses to ensure Yealink's customers benefit from the interoperability and flexibility of the phones and from the compatibility of all kind of SIP-based telephone system.


Shoretel, founded in 1998, is a privately held company that is all about IP telephony. Their approach is to evaluate your network first before designing a solution. The idea here is to determine how ready you are first, before taking the step into VoIP convergence.

According to Gartner, Shoretel’s “product architecture gives organizations distributed call control across multiple locations through an IP backbone that supports the use of IP and analog telephones. This enables organizations to implement a converged network at their own pace.”


In the 1940s, a consortium of leaders in the telecommunications industry and in government standardized how customers would be assigned telephone numbers. The telephone number identified a specific pair of wires out of millions of pairs of wires, and a specific phone company switch out of thousands of such devices.

The term circuit-switched describes this setup of circuit wiring, switching devices, and telephone number assignment. The PSTN is sometimes referred to as the circuit-switched or switched network. Because today’s public phone system is still circuit switched, it still relies on the same basic system for telephone number assignment.

VoIP introduced dramatic changes in how the network is used and, over time, VoIP could force changes in how numbers are assigned. With VoIP, phone numbers are no longer tied to specific wires and switches. VoIP routes calls based on network addresses, and phone numbers are simply used because that is what people are familiar with. (VoIP takes care of translating a phone number into a network address.) In the future, as more and more people adopt VoIP-based systems, we may see dramatic changes in phone numbering.

NTFS drives

Windows NT Server introduced a new type of formatting for hard drives, different from the standard FAT system used by MS-DOS since the early 1980s. (FAT stands for File Allocation Table, in case you’re interested.) The new system, called NTFS (for NT File System) offers many advantages over FAT drives:

  1. NTFS is much more efficient at using the space on your hard drive. As a result, NTFS can cram more data onto a given hard drive than FAT.
  2. NTFS drives provide better security features than FAT drives. NTFS stores security information on disk for each file and directory. In contrast, FAT has only rudimentary security features.
  3. NTFS drives are more reliable because NTFS keeps duplicate copies of important information, such as the location of each file on the hard drive. If a problem develops on an NTFS drive, Windows NT Server can probably correct the problem without losing any data. In contrast, FAT drives are prone to losing information

SAN is NAS spelled backwards

It’s easy to confuse the terms storage area network (SAN) and network attached storage (NAS). Both refer to relatively new network technologies that let you manage the disk storage on your network. However, NAS is a much simpler and less expensive technology. A NAS device is nothing more than an inexpensive self-contained file server. Using NAS devices actually simplifies the task of adding storage to a network because the NAS eliminates the chore of configuring a network operating system for routine file sharing tasks.

A storage area network is designed for managing very large amounts of network storage — sometimes downright huge amounts. A SAN consists of three components: storage devices (perhaps hundreds of them), a separate highspeed network (usually fiber-optic) that directly connects the storage devices to each other, and one or more SAN servers that connect the SAN to the local area network. The SAN server manages the storage devices attached to the SAN and allows users of the LAN to access the storage. Setting up and managing a storage area network is a job for a SAN expert.

For more information about storage area networks, see the home page of the Storage Networking Industry Association at

Saving space with a KVM switch

If you have more than two or three servers together in one location, you should consider getting a device called a KVM switch to save space. A KVM switch lets you connect several server computers to a single keyboard, monitor, and mouse. (KVM stands for Keyboard, Video, and Mouse.)

Then, you can control any of the servers from a single keyboard, monitor, and mouse by turning a dial or by pressing a button on the KVM switch Simple KVM switches are mechanical affairs that let you choose from among 2 to 16 or more computers.

More elaborate KVM switches can control more computers, using a pop-up menu or a special keyboard combination to switch among computers. Some advanced KVMs can even control a mix of PCs and Macintosh computers from a single keyboard, monitor, and mouse.

To find more information about KVM switches, go to a Web search engine such as Google and search for “KVM.”

10Base what?

The names of Ethernet cable standards resemble the audible signals a quarterback might shout at the line of scrimmage. In reality, the cable designations consist of three parts:

  1. The first number is the speed of the network in Mbps. So 10BaseT is for 10Mbps networks (Standard Ethernet), 100BaseTX is for 100Mbps networks (Fast Ethernet), and 1000BaseT is for 1,000Mbps networks (Gigabit Ethernet).
  2. The word Base indicates the type of network transmission that the cable uses. Base is short for baseband. Baseband transmissions carry one signal at a time and are relatively simple to implement. The alternative to baseband is broadband, which can carry more than one signal at a time but is more difficult to implement. At one time, broadband incarnations of the 802.x networking standards existed, but they have all but fizzled due to lack of use.
  3. The tail end of the designation indicates the cable type. For coaxial cables, a number is used that roughly indicates the maximum length of the cable in hundreds of meters. 10Base5 cables can run up to 500 meters. 10Base2 cables can run up to 185 meters. (The IEEE rounded 185 up to 200 to come up with the name 10Base2.) If the designation ends with a T, twisted pair cable is used. Other letters are used for other types of cables.

Ethernet folklore and mythology

If you’re a history buff, you may be interested in the story of how Ethernet came to be so popular. Here’s how it happened:

The original idea for the Ethernet was hatched in the mind of a graduate computer science student at Harvard University named Robert Metcalfe. Looking for a thesis idea in 1970, he refined a networking technique that was used in Hawaii called the AlohaNet (it was actually a wireless network) and developed a technique that would enable a network to efficiently use as much as 90 percent of its capacity.

By 1973, he had his first Ethernet network up and running at the famous Xerox Palo Alto Research Center(PARC). Bob dubbed his network “Ethernet” in honor of the thick network cable, which he called “the ether.” (Xerox PARC was busy in 1973. In addition to Ethernet, PARC developed the first personal computer that used a graphical user interface complete with icons, windows, and menus, and the world’s first laser printer.)

In 1979, Xerox began working with Intel and DEC (a once popular computer company) to make Ethernet an industry standard networking product. Along the way, they enlisted the help of the IEEE, which formed committee number 802.3 and began the process of standardizing Ethernet in 1981. The 802.3 released the first official Ethernet standard in 1983.

Meanwhile, Bob Metcalfe left Xerox, turned down a job offer from Steve Jobs to work at Apple computers, and started a company called the Computer, Communication, and Compatibility Corporation — now known as 3Com. 3Com has since become one of the largest manufacturers of Ethernet equipment in the world.

How CSMA/CD works

An important function of the Data Link layer is to make sure that two computers don’t try to send packets over the network at the same time. If they do, the signals will collide with each other and the transmission will be garbled. Ethernet accomplishes this feat by using a technique called CSMA/CD, which stands for “carrier sense multiple access with collision detection.” This phrase is a mouthful, but if you take it apart piece by piece, you’ll get an idea of how it works.

Carrier sense means that whenever a device wants to send a packet over the network media, it first listens to the network media to see whether anyone else is already sending a packet. If it doesn’t hear any other signals on the media, the computer assumes that the network is free, so it sends the packet.

Multiple access means that nothing prevents two or more devices from trying to send a message at the same time. Sure, each device listens before sending. However, suppose that two devices listen, hear nothing, and then proceed to send their packets at the same time? Picture what happens when you and someone else arrive at a four-way stop sign at the same time. You wave the other driver on, he or she waves you on, you wave, he or she waves, you both wave, and then you both go at the same time.

Collision detection means that after a device sends a packet, it listens carefully to see whether the packet crashes into another packet. This is kind of like listening for the screeching of brakes at the four-way stop. If the device hears the screeching of brakes, it waits a random period of time and then tries to send the packet again. Because the delay is random, two packets that collide are sent again after different delay periods, so a second collision is unlikely.

CSMA/CD works pretty well for smaller networks. After a network hits about 30 computers, however, packets start to collide like crazy, and the network slows to a crawl. When that happens, the network should be divided into two or more separate sections that are sometimes called collision domains.

The Seven Layers of the OSI Reference Model

OSI sounds like the name of a top-secret government agency you hear about only in Tom Clancy novels. What it really stands for in the networking world is Open Systems Interconnection, as in the Open Systems Interconnection Reference Model, affectionately known as the OSI model.

The OSI model breaks the various aspects of a computer network into seven distinct layers. These layers are kind of like the layers of an onion: Each successive layer envelops the layer beneath it, hiding its details from the levels above. The OSI model is also like an onion in that if you start to peel it apart to have a look inside, you’re bound to shed a few tears.

The OSI model is not a networking standard in the same sense that Ethernet and Token Ring are networking standards. Rather, the OSI model is a framework into which the various networking standards can fit. The OSI model specifies what aspects of a network’s operation can be addressed by various network standards. So, in a sense, the OSI model is sort of a standard of standards.

The first three layers are sometimes called the lower layers. They deal with the mechanics of how information is sent from one computer to another over a network. Layers 4 through 7 are sometimes called the upper layers. They deal with how applications programs relate to the network through application programming interfaces.

Monday, October 18, 2010

The fascinating story of TCP/IP

Some people are fascinated by history. They subscribe to cable TV just to get the History Channel. If you’re one of those history buffs, you may be interested in the following chronicle of TCP/IP’s humble origins. (For maximum effect, play some melancholy violin music in the background as you read the rest of this sidebar.)

In the summer of 1969, the four mop-topped singers from Liverpool were breaking up. The war in Vietnam was escalating. Astronauts Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin walked on the moon. And the Department of Defense built a computer network called ARPANET to link its defense installations with several major universities throughout the United States.

By the early 1970s, ARPANET was becoming difficult to manage. So it was split into two networks: one for military use, called MILNET, and the other for nonmilitary use. The nonmilitary network retained the name ARPANET. To link MILNET with ARPANET, a new method of connecting networks, called Internet Protocol or just IP for short, was invented. The whole purpose of IP was to enable these two networks to communicate with each other.

Fortunately, the designers of IP realized that it wouldn’t be too long before other networks wanted to join in the fun, so they designed IP to allow for more than two networks. In fact, their ingenious design allowed for tens of thousands of networks to communicate via IP. The decision was a fortuitous one, as the Internet quickly began to grow. By the mid-1980s, the original ARPANET reached its limits. Just in time, the National Science Foundation (NSF) decided to get into the game. NSF had built a network called NSFNET to link its huge supercomputers.

NSFNET replaced ARPANET as the new background for the Internet. Around that time, such magazines as Time and Newsweek began writing articles about this new phenomenon called the Internet, and the Net (as it became nicknamed) began to grow like wildfire. Soon NSFNET couldn’t keep up with the growth, so several private commercial networks took over management of the Internet backbone. The Internet has grown at a dizzying rate ever since, and nobody knows how long this frenetic growth rate will continue. One thing is sure: TCP/IP is now the most popular networking protocol in the world.

IEEE 802.3ba standard released - 40Gb/s and 100Gb/s Ethernet become reality!

EEE announced the ratification of IEEE 802.3ba 40Gb/s and 100Gb/s Ethernet, a new standard governing 40 Gb/s and 100 Gb/s Ethernet operations. An amendment to the IEEE 802.3 Ethernet standard, IEEE 802.3ba, the first standard ever to simultaneously specify two new Ethernet speeds, paves the way for the next generation of high-rate server connectivity and core switching.

The IEEE 802.3ba standard, ratified June 17, 2010, addresses critical challenges facing technology providers today, such as the growing number of applications with demonstrated bandwidth needs far exceeding existing Ethernet capabilities, by providing a larger, more durable bandwidth pipeline. Furthermore, collaboration between the IEEE P802.3ba 40Gb/s and 100Gb/s Ethernet Task Force and the International Telecommunication Union’s Telecommunication Standardization Sector (ITU-T) Study Group 15 ensures these new Ethernet rates are transportable over optical transport networks.

The new standard will act as the catalyst needed for unlocking innovation across the greater Ethernet ecosystem. IEEE 802.3ba is expected to trigger further expansion of the 40 Gigabit and 100 Gigabit Ethernet family of technologies by driving new development efforts, as well as providing new aggregation speeds that will enable 10 Gb/s Ethernet network deployments.

The standard’s ratification also dovetails into efforts aimed at delivering greater broadband access, such as the U.S. Federal Communication Commission’s “Connecting America” National Broadband Plan, which calls for 100 Mb/s access for a minimum of 100 million homes across the U.S.

In addition to providing an increased bandwidth pipeline, IEEE 802.3ba remains compatible with existing IEEE 802.3 installations, thereby preserving significant industry investment in the technology. The new standard is also expected to generate concrete benefits, such as lowered operating expense costs and improved energy efficiencies, by simplifying complex link aggregation schema commonly used in today’s network architectures.

Key stakeholders for IEEE 802.3ba include users and producers of systems and components for servers, network storage, networking systems, high-performance computing, data centers, telecommunications carriers, and multiple system operators (MSOs).

“Ubiquitous adoption of bandwidth-intensive technologies and applications, such as converged network services, video-on-demand, and social networking, is producing rapidly increasing demand for higher-rate throughput. As mass-market access to these technologies continues accelerating, coupled with today’s progressively more powerful server architectures, data centers, network providers and end-users alike are finding themselves confronted by pressing bandwidth bottlenecks,” said John D’Ambrosia, Chair, IEEE P802.3ba Task Force, and Director, Ethernet-based Standards, CTO Office, Force10 Networks. “IEEE 802.3ba will eliminate these bottlenecks by providing a robust, scalable architecture for meeting current bandwidth requirements and laying a solid foundation for future Ethernet speed increases.”


Oxford Dictionary of Medical Qoutations #2

"There is no short cut, nor ‘royal road’ to the attainment of medical knowledge"

- John Abernethy (1764-1831) English Surgeon, St. Bartholomew’s Hospital, London

Doa Rasululah - Memerdekakan diri dari hutang piutang

Abu Said Al-Khudhri radhiyallahu ’anhu berkata: “Pada suatu hari Rasulullah shollallahu ’alaih wa sallam masuk ke dalam masjid. Tiba-tiba ada seorang sahabat bernama Abu Umamah radhiyallahu ’anhu sedang duduk di sana. Beliau bertanya: ”Wahai Abu Umamah, kenapa aku melihat kau sedang duduk di luar waktu sholat?” Ia menjawab: ”Aku bingung memikirkan hutangku, wahai Rasulullah.” Beliau bertanya: ”Mahukah aku ajarkan kepadamu sebuah do’a yang apabila kau baca maka Allah ta’aala akan menghilangkan kebingunganmu dan melunasi hutangmu?” Ia menjawab: "Tentu, wahai Rasulullah.” Beliau bersabda,”Jika kau berada di waktu pagi mahupun petang hari, bacalah do’a:

“Allahumma innii a-’udzu...bika minal hammi wal hazani, wa a-’udzubika minal’ajzi wal kasali, wa a-’udzubika minal jubni wal bukhli, wa a-’udzubika minal ghalabatiddiini wa qahri-rrijaal.”

"Ya Allah, sesungguhnya aku berlindung kepada Engkau dari bingung dan sedih. Aku berlindung kepada Engkau dari lemah dan malas. Aku berlindung kepada Engkau dari pengecut dan kikir. Dan aku berlindung kepada Engkau dari lilitan hutang dan kesewenang-wenangan manusia.” Kata Abu Umamah radhiyallahu ’anhu: ”Setelah membaca do’a tersebut, Allah berkenan menghilangkan kebingunganku dan membayarkan lunas hutangku.” (HR Abu Dawud 4/353)

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Falsafah dan Konsep Ilmu Menurut Perspektif Muslim Nusantara.

Sejarah membuktikan bahawa kecemerlangan sesuatu tamadun manusia sejak dari zaman dahulu kala lagi adalah natijah dari ketinggian tahap kecemerlangan ilmu manusia pada zaman itu. Fakta sejarah membuktikan juga bahawa Tamadun Yunani, Rom dan Islam menjadi lemah dan tersungkur apabila masyarakatnya mulai melupakan pencarian ilmu dan asyik bersuka-ria melayan kemewahan hasil tuaian kerja keras silam (Alinor, 2005). Sejarah pasti akan berulang kembali jika kita tidak mengambil pengajaran dan melaksanakan rangka tindakan untuk mencapai kecemerlangan dan seterusnya melestarikannya.

Telah tercetus Gerakan Pascamoden di Eropah sekitar tahun 1840-an yang mengkritik pembangunan sains dan teknologi yang telah memutuskan landasan pembangunan ilmu daripada hal-hal berkaitan metafizik dan ketuhanan. Antara sarjana pascamoden ini termasuk Kierkegaard, Spengler, Foucault dan lain-lain. Mereka menyarankan agar dikembalikan semula semua bentuk ilmu kepada juzuk metafizik. Kembalinya mereka bukan kepada tradisi Yahudi-Kristian(mungkin kerana pengalaman buruk mereka dengan golongan gereja) tetapi untuk membina fahaman falsafah yang baru (Alinor, 2005). Penulis telah mencatatkan dalam era kontemporari terdapat gagasan dan saranan yang mengambil pendekatan baru.Sebagai landasan untuk perkembangan ilmu didalam dunia islam dan rantau Malaysia khasnya:
  1. Falsafah pengislaman ilmu (Syed Muhammad Naquib Al-Attas, 1973/2000)
  2. Falsafah pendidikan bersepadu (Tajul Arifin, 2002)
  3. Falsafah pendidikan terkamir (Shaharir 1984/1987), dan
  4. Falsafah pemeribumian ilmu (Shaharir, 1995/1997)
Kesemua pendekatan ini telah diulas dengan panjang lebar oleh Shaharir (2005), yang juga telah menyarankan usaha menghidupkan semula pemeribumian ilmu melalui pendidikan sains. Penulis ingin mengusulkan suatu pendekatan yang lebih holistik dalam meletakkan landasan pendidikan sains dan teknologi dirantau ini. Pendekatan holistik yang dicadangkan mestilah mengambil semua dimensi dalam menyuburkan perkembangan ilmu manusia iaitu: pembangunan akal & minda; pembinaan kemahiran; dan pembentukan peribadi mulia. Ketiga-tiga perkara ini adalah ramuan asas yang mesti ada dalam pembentukan falsafah dan konsep ilmu yang hendak diterapkan agar seseorang individu yang keluar dari proses pembentukan ini dapat memainkan peranan yang sempurna sebagai khalifah Allah diatas muka bumi ini.

Budaya kecemerlangan dalam pengajaran dan pembelajaran ilmu di IPT akan dapat dipastikan dengan pengisian program pendidikan yang menggabungkan aspek al-fikr dan al-zikr sehingga tercetusnya kebijaksanaan (al-hikmah), (MILENIA Sept. 2009, ms 30). Tahap perolehan sesuatu ilmu yang dipelajari boleh dibahagikan kepada beberapa hirarki iaitu: Untuk tahu (mengetahui); untuk faham (memahami); untuk kenal (mengenali); untuk dihayati (menghayati); dan untuk mengamalkannya. Seterusnya, ungkapan kata “Ilmu itu adalah apa yang anda amalkan” boleh digunakan untuk memberi makna sama ada sesuatu ilmu yang dipelajari itu benar-benar memberi menafaat kepada tuan punya badan. Perolehan ilmu naqli dan aqli melalui bacaan keatas wahyu dan bacaan keatas kejadian alam semesta yang digarap dari ayat pertama al-Qur’an diturunkan:

“Bacalah (wahai Muhammad) dengan nama Tuhanmu yang menciptakan (sekelian makhluk )" (Surah al-‘Alaq 96: 1).

Ayat ini boleh dijadikan panduan dalam menerapkan tujuan utama sesuatu ilmu itu dipelajari dengan nas yang memerintahkan untuk kita melaksnakannya. Zaini Ujang (2009, ms 19) telah menerangkan konsep hikmah sebagai tambahan hirarki dalam perolehan ilmu seperti berikut: Selain daripada ilmu, konsep hikmah turut dijelaskan dalam al- Qur’an.Banyak ayat menjelaskan perbezaan antara ilmu dengan hikmah, misalnya dalam konteks Nabi Musa a.s (Surah al Qasas 28:14). Al-Qur’an turut membezakan antara kandungan kitab dengan hikmah (Surah al-Baqarah 2: 151).Hikmah adalah tahap lebih tinggi berbanding ilmu pengetahuan, maklumat, kemahiran, fakta dan data.

Malah hirarki perolehan ilmu itu masih boleh ditambah lagi dengan mengambil jalan tasauf (tariqat) yang bermujahadah dengan ilmu dan amal sehingga dapat mencapai maqam ma’rifat. Dengan ma’rifat akan Allah Ta’ala itu iaitu dapat martabat yang tinggi dan maqam yang mulia iaitu martabat anbia dan aulia yang arifin, yang muqarrabin seperti firman Allah Taala (Sairus-Salikin, Juzuk 3, Edisi Rumi 2003, ms 99):

“Dan mereka itu yang bersungguh-sungguh didalam menjalani akan jalan kami nescaya kami tunjukkan akan mereka itu jalan yang menyampaikan akan ma’rifat akan kami”. (Surah al-‘Ankabut 29: 69)

Pembentukan nilai dan peribadi diri jangan ditinggalkan, malah ianya mesti dipupuk melalui kaedah yang betul dan teruji. Pada hakikatnya teknologi bukan hanya benda atau wujud benda (material) semata, tetapi ia juga adalah kewujudan bukan benda (Ahmad Murad Merican, 2005). Ia punya nilai sejagat termasuk nilai etika dan nilai estetika yang perlu diisi oleh pereka dan pengguna teknologi.

(Oleh Mohd Jailani bin Mohd Nor - Fakulti Kejuruteraan & Alam Bina, Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia, 43600, Bangi, Selangor, Malaysia. email : atau