Ever had the inclination to stray? Of course you have. We all like to venture into uncharted territory or at least take a peek into the territory of others. And it is fair to say those working in IT are particularly curious. It is a field driven by a desire to understand how technology works, to question the machinations of our immediate surroundings.
So it came as no surprise when I spoke to IT managers last week about their reading habits to find out that information about their peers is what they enjoy most in these pages.
They want a glimpse into other IT operations, to find out what technology IT managers are using, how they are using it and why it was selected.
It was made abundantly clear to me that readers do want to stray, they want to seek out similar challenges and find the most sturdy and cost-effective solution.
Over a period of two days I rang 60 Computerworld subscribers and was able to speak to a total of 26 IT professionals (thank you to everyone who provided their valuable input).
It wasn't just the feedback that was interesting but the tone. The workplace seems a much happier place than it was two years ago when burnout and disenchantment prevailed.
Only 18 months ago readers were still recovering from excessive cost-cutting and post-dotcom pessimism.
It wasn't too long ago that academics were debating the value of IT, asking Does IT Matter?
But readers claim shrinking IT budgets have stabilized and the immediate outlook is relatively healthy.
This was supported by a global IT spending report released last week by IDC. It found worldwide spending will grow at a compound annual rate of 5.9 percent through to the end of 2009 to reach $US1.34 trillion, up from $1.06 trillion this year. The government, manufacturing and banking sectors will account for the lion's share of spend, but the fastest growth will come from healthcare, traditionally an IT laggard.
Another good indicator is always the movement of hardware and Gartner released a report this week showing sales of PC notebooks to Asia are booming, up 40.4 percent over the same period last year.
The Lenovo Group took the top spot among PC vendors with 17.3 percent share of the market followed by Hewlett-Packard and Dell. While Acer ranked fourth, it posted the biggest market-share gain for the period - an increase of a whopping 50 percent to 5.3 percent, compared to 4.2 percent one year earlier.
But Acer wasn't the only vendor smiling this week. HP's third-quarter results exceeded analysts' expectations on the back of strong growth in server sales.
Revenue was $20.8 billion, up 10 percent from $18.9 billion for the same period last year. Surprisingly, revenue from low-end servers increased 28 percent.
The server group's performance this year was helped by the comparison to a horrible quarter last year, when a botched rollout of a new order processing system was responsible for lower-than expected revenue and led to the dismissal of three prominent sales executives. HP expects fourth-quarter revenue to come in between $22.4 billion and $22.8 billion.
Signs of better times? If we use the federal government as any kind of indicator then these must be good times, in fact we must be in booming times. Heck, the government can afford to hand over $3 billion to rural electorates via a post-Telstra sale slush fund - that's a lot of cash.
So what's the outlook in your workplace? What are your reading habits? Do you have wandering eyes? Feedback to firstname.lastname@example.org