CIO Solutions
March 2011- Issue 18 
Find It Fast
Check with the Tech - 64 Bit Operating System
Now and Then - A Departure from Technology
CIO in the News - CIO Solutions Award for Excellence in Computer Engineering
App of the Month - GasBuddy
Product Review: External Storage Devices
Employee Spotlight: David Ashamalla

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When one door closes...

Dear ,

On March 31st Andrew West will be leaving CIO Solutions. Andrew has played a pivotal role in the development and evolution of this company and his contributions and expertise will be dearly missed. Over the past 14 years, Andrew has acted as engineer, CTO and most recently Senior Solutions Architect. He has decided to pursue other interests (see below for his departure article) and we wish him well in all his future endeavors.


On the bright side, we are pleased to announce that we have hired three new engineers. We welcome Rich Beckett, David Beltran and Bjoern Freiherr to the company. Each individual brings unique experience, passion for the industry and unwavering dedication to the job.


We look forward to the contributions that each of these engineers will bring to the team and are excited to have them aboard.

John Petote
CEO, CIO Solutions

Check with the Tech -  64 Bit Operating Systems

Check with the Tech   


Question: I am thinking about moving to a 64 bit Operating System, what are some things to consider?



Answer: You're not alone - everyone will eventually make the leap to a 64bit operating system.  The good news is that it looks and feels exactly like your existing computer.  Windows XP 32bit looks the same as its 64bit counterpart.  If you like Windows 7, you may already be 64bit and not know it!  You will need a 64bit operating system if you want to break the 4GB RAM barrier.  More and more PCs are coming standard with 6 and 8 GB of RAM as well as a 64bit processor. 


In a business environment, this can mean some aggravation - manufacturers and vendors are slowly catching up to producing drivers and software that works in a 64bit environment.  If everyone in your office has printed fine to that HP printer in the middle of the office for years, that's because they're operating system is 32bit as well as the printer driver and server that hosts the printer.  In a mixed environment, things get a little more difficult.  Some printer manufacturers are only making 64bit drivers for newer printers.  Often we're seeing "universal" drivers being offered for legacy systems, but they don't always work as promised.   


The Shoretel phone system has a nice 64bit as well as 32bit application, but only if you are keep current with your software version (and you should!).  Antivirus applications often offer both a 32bit and 64bit application as well.  Many times, the 32bit version will work in a 64bit environment but not always. 


In the case of Microsoft Office, even though they have released a 64bit Office 2010, they recommend that their 64bit customers use the 32bit version except for rare cases where 64 is required.   


Still have a 32-bit-only application that needs to run on a 64bit OS?  Good news - Windows 7 has an add-on that allows you to publish in 32bit mode.

If all of this sounds complex and confusing, you're in good company.  Fortunately you have a trusted advisor in your neighborhood CIO Solutions Engineer that can help walk you through this when the time comes.


Mike Shinn - New
Mike Shinn

Now and Then: A Departure from Technology - Andrew West, Sr. Solutions Architect


Andrew West, CTO 

As of March 31, 2011, I will be hanging up my technology hat for good and putting on a beekeepers' veil and wielding a garden shovel while keeping one hand on a computer keyboard. 


Yes, it's true, I am making a drastic life change so that I can focus on hobbies and work that will help to re-energize and heal both myself and the planet.  My time will be spent beekeeping, gardening, producing electronic music, home keeping, DJing and planning an intentional community which my wife and I would design and reside in, either in SB County or up north in the Santa Cruz area.   


 I am happy to say that I am leaving the CIO Solutions team at a time when we continue to grow through the recession and when I have never seen a better team in place - quit while you're ahead, right?  I expect to hear more and more good things about CIO Solutions as time goes on since I know that the culture there is based on a solid foundation that values the CIO team as much as it values the rest of the CIO family which includes our clients and employee's family members.


I have seen all kinds of organizations and companies during my time at CIO, and I can safely say that it is one of the best places to create a career and improve yourself in Santa Barbara and in California, for that matter.  There are many good reasons why I stuck around for so long!  It will be very difficult for me to leave this family, that's for sure. I will need help making it through this transition, so please keep in touch!   


Over the years, I've grown hopeful that industries such as Information Technology are headed in a better direction, although I have seen many developments that I believe hurt us as well.  So, I will leave you with my top lists of the good and the bad that I have seen out there during my time.


Andrew's Top 5 Technology Wins

  • Server Virtualization - I know of nothing else better that has happened in IT over the past 20 years than this.  With benefits such as less stressed IT people, drastically improved power and space utilization, portability, ease of management, and ease of backup/recovery.  VMware rocks.
  • Managed Services - These services make it easy for our clients to understand, receive, and budget for comprehensive IT services.  Managed services make life easier for everyone, clients and IT staff alike.
  • The Cloud - This cloud definitely isn't all silver lining, however its future continues to brighten every day.  Want a business that's immune from most disasters and that you can run from anywhere in the world?  Look to the cloud.
  • Storage Virtualization - Are you sensing a trend here?  Same benefits as server virtualization, except for storage.
  • e-Books - Meg and I got a Kindle for Christmas.  As avid readers, we were hooked within an hour. 
  • Ethernet - One of the best standards ever invented in networking.  It continues to win, and it continues to scale since its inception in the mid 70's. (OK, I'll stop now)

Andrew's Top Technology Bombs

  • Smart/Cell Phones - OK, so I couldn't leave without stirring up some controversy.  I think that these devices have created way too much distraction, noise, and interruptions in our already harrowing lives, thereby lowering our overall quality of life.  I will not miss being constantly tethered to mine. They are definitely useful in certain circumstances, but I think we have gone overboard with these devices in general.  I also think they make us more stupid - not smarter - over time. 
  • Digital Rights Management (DRM) - Music and movie companies' attempts to protect their content via (inherently) flawed protection schemes have only hurt paying customers and artists in the end.  "Hackers" continue to access content unabated and always will.
  • The Internal Combustion Engine - This single invention has done more to harm the planet than any other I can think of.  When you consider that most cities are designed around cars and not humans, you can begin to see where I'm going with this.
  • Too many others to mention - all the bad inventions take care of themselves.  I like to look for the good things anyway, and not give the bad things too much press.

Thank you to everyone who has made my 20 year career in IT as fulfilling and exciting as possible.

Please stay in touch!

Andrew West, (805) 504-0606

Click to read full article

CIO in the News


Read All About It! 



Mary Lou Bailey, a senior at Bishop Diego, received the CIO Award for Excellence in Computer Engineering for her Science Fair project in the Senior Physical Sciences Division.


March 8, 2011 - Santa Barbara - CIO was honored to present Bishop Diego senior Mary Lou Bailey with the CIO Award for Excellence in Computer Engineering for her project titled "Divide and Conquer" which was entered in the Senior Physical Sciences Division of the annual Science Fair. Bailey used complex algorithms to determine which computer chip had the fastest processor and developed her own independent program and compiler for testing.

Bailey will be attending UCSB in the fall and plans to study Computer Science. Bailey stated, "I 
am very honored to be recognized by CIO Solutions for excellence in computer engineering. I 
worked very hard on my project, and winning this award has encouraged me to continue 
pursuing projects in the computer science realm." She is currently the valedictorian of her class 
and is excited to pursue her passion for engineering at the university.  

Award Winner


Read the full press release 



App of the Month - GasBuddy


  • Find the cheapest gas on the go - for free!
  • Locate gas stations near you and see their current gas prices.
  • For every gas price reported, you'll earn points towards our prize give-away.
  • GasBuddy is a community of users working together to update gas prices.
  • Available for Android, iPhone and Windows Mobile devices (Blackberry coming soon!)


Product Review: External Storage Devices - Michael Biancone, Purchasing

 Michael Biancone

Many of us have been advised to get an external hard drive for data back-up. While being a great idea, for many it has often been difficult to select the appropriate equipment to purchase, and once you have one of these nifty devices, what do you do with it?  


What follows are some areas to consider when researching a backup solution for your home or small business.


Home Solution: 


  • Hard drive size
  • Physical size of enclosure
  • With or without internal powersupply
  • Speed of hard drive



Small Business Solution: 



  • Number of external drives
  • Hard drive size
  • Networkabel vs. non-networkable
  • Backup software




 Read the full article for more detail on the above information


Employee Spotlight  - David Ashamalla, CTO

David Ashamalla

Full name:
David Mounir Ashamalla 


Family info:
Father was born and raised in Cairo, Egypt, Mother from Ohio, US.  They met in college at Marquette University, where my sister and I both also went to school. My wife Shannon was also raised in Santa Barbara, and we were childhood friends.  Two daughters, Stella 4, and Shaelyn 8. 


Where you grew up/When you moved to SB:
Born at Goleta Valley Hospital, which later became Goleta Valley Cottage Hospital. San Marcos High School! Wife and I went to the Bay Area for 10 years, then returned in 2005. All Grandparents are here, and, some extended family. 


What you like best about SB:
Love the fact that we hike in the morning and hit the beach in the afternoon. Our weather is mild, and we can be outside 12 months of the year. 


When did you start working at CIO:
I started in October of 2008.   


Your position at CIO: 
Chief Technical Officer.   


What you like best about working at CIO:
The people I get to work with.

Favorite color:


Favorite food:
Middle Eastern food and sushi. 


Favorite book/movie:
I read a lot, and it is too hard to pick a favorite book.  Here is a selection of some of my favorites over the years:

  • From Beirut to Jerusalem, Tomas Friedman
  • Why People Believe Weird Things, Michael Shermer
  • Lord of Light, Roger Zalazney.
  • The Goal, Eliyahu Goldratt
  • Anything by Tom DeMarco


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