Test your actual internet speed at www.speedtest.net. The site allows you to test your actual internet speed you are receiving from your ISP. The test is done through an easy to use graphical interface and you get ping, upload and download speeds. So you can see if you are actually getting what you are paying for from your ISP. I have also used the test to troubleshoot network problems – network traffic problems can be hard to diagnose and this test can eliminate many possiblities.
Everyone has certain things that drive them a bit crazy in their profession. Today I’d like to share one of mine with you (sounds fun, doesn’t it?). Managing IT projects – it’s just not done well for many firms. Whether it’s a lack of experience from the firm’s IT consultant or if the firm just doesn’t want to invest in project management I don’t really know, but I’m seeing more and more good projects fail because of it. Often firms spend so much time and effort researching the right project, determining the right time to do the project, and finding the right people to help them with the project, that when it comes time to do the project there’s almost no emphasis on actually managing the project. Why does this drive me a bit crazy? Because so many good IT projects fail from simple lack of management. At its core, project management is communication. IT projects require good communication of goals, timelines, resources, and expectations. Without these it’s almost impossible for a project to succeed fully. So the when you’re ready to move forward with your next IT project, don’t forget the management – it could save you lots of time and money.
Microsoft announced the pricing for their new server software line, Windows Server 2008. The product is scheduled to be released in late February 2008. Eight versions will be available, though the distinction between two sets of three versions focusses on whether the product includes the new Hyper-V virtualization technology. This PC World article outlines the pricing for all versions of the product: PC World.
Although it is slated for release in the first quarter next year, as with most products, we stay away from implementing bleeding edge solutions. It’s especially important to wait awhile to ensure stability in server software as the server is the heart of your network. There were no announcements related to a Small Business version of the product, which generally trails behind the standard server releases by atl least 6-9 months.
There has been so much buzz about Windows Vista and its place in the legal community, I thought a few comments would be appropriate. In short, I strongly believe the benefits of deploying Windows Vista are more long term while deploying XP is more of a short term solution. Sure, deploying Vista will probably require some software upgrades to be fully operational on your network, but deploying XP will only lead to problems down the road. And in my opinion, deploying XP will cause more problems down the road than deploying Vista would today. Here’s my rationale:
Say you deploy XP today. Everything works fine – you don’t need to upgrade your applications, train your staff members, buy new peripherals, download new drivers, or deal with any of that hassle. Sounds great, right? I think so. But let’s look down the road two years. In two years from now your XP desktop system will be about half way through its life cycle (if you consider most law firms try to get 4 years out of their PCs). So now it’s two years later, you’re running XP, and you want to upgrade to the newest version of your business application (new features, old version isn’t supported anymore, etc.). Unfortunately, you can’t because the new version doesn’t run on XP anymore. You’re stuck. You can’t install the application without upgrading to Vista and upgrading now certainly costs more than if you would have purchased Vista in the first place. Ultimately, you still have to invest in training, address other compatibility issues, and all the rest like you would have initially, but now it costs more to do so. So really your choices become one of 3…
1. Upgrade all your PCs and applications at the same time some time down the road
2. Stay with XP and know you won’t be able to upgrade your software until you make the jump to Vista
3. Deploy Vista in accordance with the life cycle of your existing systems and address the issues that come with it
Whichever route you decide is best for your firm, don’t make a hasty decision. Deploy Vista as part of your overall IT plan so you’re in control.
I came across an interesting site a few days ago called “One Laptop Per Child (OLPC).” It is a charity organization whose goal is “…to provide children around the world with new opportunities to explore, experiment and express themselves.” OLPC strives to do this by providing very basic laptops to children in countries who would normally not have access to one. The program is set up so that an individual or company donates $200 and the OLPC organization then donates an “XO Laptop” to a child in one of the designated countries.
When I first stumbled upon the site my gut reaction was to think “Wouldn’t it be better to provide staples such as food, shelter and medicine?” The organization’s founder, Nicholas Negroponte, convincingly addresses many of these types of questions here: XOGiving.
On November 12 the xogiving site will be offering an incentive for making a donation to purchase a laptop. For a $400 donation they will send one laptop to a child in a developing country, and a second to you. The laptop is actually a pretty interesting device. It’s extremely portable and durable, has built-in long range wireless, 7.5” dual mode screen (one is ideal for reading in the sunlight) and comes pre-installed with an intuitive Linux interface (preloaded with a number of applications). The laptop is about the size of a hardcover book, so could likely be used as a type of e-book reader. Anyway – I just thought I’d pass on the information.
It’s an interesting idea, and seems like a very worthwhile charity.