Thursday, September 25, 2008

ERM-BC-COOP: Interesting items

A couple of interesting crossed my desk today.

One is a business card-size CD.

The other is a notification system.

The CD needs more research, but I think the effort may be worthwhile.

I discovered it scanning a posting on one of the Emergency Management lists I follow.

Basically, a product called "Pocket MD" ( creates a card/CD that contains "up to 200 pages of data" and can be played on any Windows computer.

If we assume - I know, that's dangerous - that "200 pages" equates to 200 8*10 or "A" size pages, that's a lot of information.

Enough to hold a complete ERM/BC/COOP plan.

According to the blurb, the data on the CD have "protections for privacy in place now under the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act, with penalties for violations." That really doesn't tell me a lot, but then I'm not interested in the product, only its media.

I can password protect or encrypt data before it goes onto a CD - regardless if the CD is "normal" size or a mini.

At this point, I don't know (a) where to buy macro CDs and (b) if I can write to them; reading on a computer (why only Windows?) is one thing; writing may be another.

I'm a person who still prefers documentation on paper, but I realize there are many people who prefer their information presented on a monitor, even a miniature, cell phone-size one. The macro-CD allows both (all I need is printer access, paper, and "ink").

The idea that I can stick an entire plan in my wallet - I hope the CD is rugged - appeals to me.

Easier to keep handy than a full-size CD or memory stick that might get erased.

True, I still have to lug around a machine to display the CD's contents, but can equally small CD players be far away? Image inserting a micro CD into a Walkman-size or BlackBerry-size device with, hopefully, connectors to a BIG monitor and printer.

I wonder if the micro CD can handle audio as well as text. Let me listen to the plan, rather than try to read it on a BlackBerry screen.

The notification system is called "Twitter" (

Twitter can send messages to cell phones or an Internet connection (IMs, Web page).

Messages to cell phones and IM devices are limited to 140 characters, which may not seem like a lot, but actually can convey useful information. The sentence you just read is 144 characters, including spaces and the final period; 140 of those characters are in red.

If a message is longer than 140 characters, it can be read on the WWW (with the first 140 characters displayed on phone or IM device).

The URL above - - is the FAQ which I thought was a good place to introduce you to the application's functionality. There is a link on that page back to the Twitter home page.

Twitter's raison d'etre is simple: "Twitter is a service for friends, family, and co–workers to communicate and stay connected through the exchange of quick, frequent answers to one simple question: What are you doing?"

For ERM-BC-COOP practitioners and EM responders, the "What are you doing" can be turned into something more akin to "ET call home."

I already get text messages on my phone from my county's emergency management folks (and emails as well), so I understand the value of a short message.

Something to consider.

Macro CDs and another way to alert people who want to be alerted.

John Glenn, MBCI, SRP
Enterprise Risk Management/Business Continuity/COOP

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