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Better Safe than Sorry!

Information Security - Better Safe than Sorry

I want to share some very useful tips with you on information safety.

Unfortunately, I recently learned the hard way when my credit card number was stolen as I checked into a Las Vegas Hotel for a seminar. Luckily though, my bank was very diligent and the breach was under $100 and very short lived!

  • 1)  ALWAYS use strong passwords (combinations of capital letter, number and punctuation work best and are harder to crack). An easy way to remember is also using something similar to the following short phrase: I8cookies
  • 2)  Don’t use the same passwords for all accounts and change passwords regularly. This is easier said than done and is more secure. There are password vault applications available (many free) on the web and on smartphones that can help you compile and manage your different passwords securely. Granted, you sometimes get as much functionality as you pay for. There are some really good paid options too. A personal favorite of a colleague of mine is called RoboForm.
  • 3)  Back up your data into multiple and diverse solutions such as an external portable hard drive in conjunction with a secured cloud based backup solution. Don’t rely on a single storage medium for your most important data (family photos, etc.)
  • 4)  Basic information like your address and birthday are easily obtainable online. For Password Reset questions always use secret questions that are fairly obscure and only you or close family would know.
  • 5)  Another good practice is to make sure public profiles on Google, Facebook, etc. are controlled and you only share information that you are comfortable with the whole world seeing. Don’t make it easy for someone to guess your password. Also, don’t set your social, email or other accounts to “auto login”. If someone nabs your computer or device, you have given them instant access.
  • 6)  Full disk encryption (e.g., BitLocker for Windows, FileVault for Mac OS X, dm-crypt + LUKS for Linux) for your personal machines is critical to secure your data in the event you misplace or lose it. That way, despite the loss of the hardware, it becomes more difficult for someone else to access your data.
  • 7)  Be wary of using your credit card or other sensitive information online with websites that are not well known. Always ensure that HTTPS/SSL encryption is used when performing any transaction that requires you to enter sensitive information including your username and password. Look for https on the URL and the padlock icon in the URL. To even be safer, one can click the padlock and ensure the site has a valid certificate (such as Verisign).
  • 8)  Enable every alert possible for transaction confirmations, password changes and other notifications. It is one of the best ways to keep on top of any unauthorized change in any online account. Pay attention to the options each site provides and enable as many as possible.
  • 9)  Be aware of email phishing scams where a hacker attempts to gather information about you such as your username, passwords, or credit card details by masquerading as a trustworthy entity. Avoid clicking on any suspicious links or providing any data about yourself. Always contact the entity directly using their published contact details to validate if it’s a legitimate request.
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Comments Off on What A small / BIG World We Work In

What A small / BIG World We Work In

The CBA "Client Advisory Board"

“What can we do to help your business succeed?”

On October 26, 2012 CBA (Critical Business Analysis) held their first Client Advisory Board (CAB) meeting for the sole purpose of supporting our clients to the best of our ability. Very simply, we wanted to find out from our core clients, “What can we do to help your business succeed?” There were in excess of 30 people in attendance which, for the inaugural meeting, was a fantastic turnout.

The first guest speaker was one of the two original founders of the Primavera products,  Dick Faris.  As always Dick provided an update on where Oracle was headed with the product as well as my favorite, “Dick’s Picks for 2013”. I always enjoy listening to Dick speak, so much so that I came to the meeting on my day off and as expected, his presentation was well worth coming in for. The ultimate compliment of the day I think came from Dick himself, he congratulated CBA for initiating the Client Advisory Board and complimented those companies in attendance for stepping up to help CBA with the guidance they were looking for.

Following Dick’s address, CBA then presented a little background: Who and what we are, how we started, brief summaries of CBA as well as employee histories and finally CBA goals and challenges over our 27+ years of business.

The floor was then turned over to our new Advisory Board members which are a diverse segment from several industries. As conversations started by one company after another there were brief exchanges of how the tool is, other software interfaces (if any) and finally the product data output and how it is used. As CBA requested there were also issues brought forth to document for future resolution. But the most relevant thing to me was that one conversation after another seemed to spark interests between the board members on the different uses and the prospect for the resulting output that users were achieving. That spark lead to the enthusiasm  for just what being part of this board could do for their own issues as well as potentially finding resolutions from amongst the peers in the group or ultimately by guiding CBA towards not only resolving their issues but providing a knowledge base to tap for future needs. Business cards were exchanged during lunch with much interest shown for several conversations to continue individually outside the meeting.

As the meeting came to a close, I also found it very enlightening to hear so many positive comments voiced by board member after board member regarding the consistent dedication, extreme knowledge and overall willingness to step up to the plate ‘no matter what’ to help our clients meet their deliverables. It was very nice to hear that my fellow colleagues at CBA are so well thought of! I guess I knew it deep inside because when I have an issue, I look to CBA internally for support first and find that I very rarely have to go beyond our team for an answer. The accolades to CBA support employees echoed round the room confirmed that not only to me but to all in attendance. I look forward to working with this group as well as being a part of what it can become going forward.

One additional perk for me in attending this meeting was the collection of past and current supervisors that I had or am working for. I selfishly asked them for a photo as I wasn’t sure I’d ever have the opportunity to have so many in one room at one time again.

Vickie with bosses of the past, present & future?

From left to right: Todd Haberland – DTE Manager, Nuclear Support, Projects and Contract Management (formerly from Davis Besse, 5 consecutive Davis Besse Outage assignments), Bob Ferris * – CBA (currently assigned as my lead at Fermi 2), Don Monteleone* – CBA, President, John Gordon* -CBA, CEO, Chuck Wolfe* – DTE Manager Nuclear Projects and Mods Fermi 2 (current DTE Manager), Ed Rimpley – Middough Inc., Senior Major Projects Manager (2 past assignments, one at AVL North America and one for Giffels and Associates), and Bob Locurto* – URS Vice President, DTE Alliance Program (current contract manager under the DTE Alliance)

So simply put, I currently work for 5 (* noted) of the 7 gentlemen in the photo below. And people wonder why I’m always so busy…. So now ya know!

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2012 NPUG (Nuclear Primavera User Group) Conference

After attending the 2012 NPUG (Nuclear Primavera User Group) conference in Palm Beach, Florida, it became very clear that there are a lot of passionate people involved with this group that are working to improve not only the Primavera product but to discuss the best practices of other facilities in our industry for all to reap a benefit. We started out as a very small group several years ago and have grown to what we thought was potentially 50-55 interested persons/utility/vendor representatives for this years conference and were astounded at the over 90 people in attendance. Additionally, with the interest Primavera / ORACLE has shown in assisting the group, as well as, the foresight into software issues and performance problems, the presentations throughout the full 2 days were very informative and helpful to those of us present. Several utilities had been considering a new product and the seminar presentations allowed attendees to actually speak to other users, as well as, see product demo’s and product outputs displayed. That is very useful when compiling business cases to management. The attendees also did smaller breakout meetings based on the functional groups supported back on our respective sites: Engineering Project Scheduling, On-line Scheduling and Outage Scheduling. These smaller groups focused in on their use of the tool, issues with the tools, and some best practices. Both days were structured similarly and much information passed amongst the attendees, some from utility members and some from vendors. The issues list was compiled and forwarded back to Primavera for ranking for resolution. I found most attendees favorite discussions occurred during the pre-seminar cocktail hour. Those discussions proved to contain some interesting conversation regarding what each attendee expected to get out of the two information packed days. Surprisingly, the second night’s cocktail hour discussions were geared to the wealth of information attained during the days proceedings. So, all in all, I would venture to call the 2012 NPUG conference a success to all in attendance. I know that I came away from the conference feeling like it was time well spent. I would encourage all Primavera users to become a member of your industry type user groups and participate, participate, participate…. If there is no user group established in your industry, there are also global Primavera User Groups and some local chapter Primavera User Groups, as well as, LinkedIn user groups.  Become involved! It’s a very rewarding experience.

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Trace Logic Tips/Tricks

To set up the fields displayed in the Trace Logic view, open the network view, then the Activity Network Options and specify the requirements for the activity box. The box will be formatted within ‘Trace Logic’ as it was in the Network View. Next open the Activity view with the gantt option selected and click on the task you need to perform the Trace function on, then click the Trace Logic icon. From the Activity view select File / Page Setup – Options tab and select only the ‘Trace Logic’ checkbox. Close Page Setup and select Print Preview, from within Print Preview setup the print requirements needed and print.

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