For a long time Linux has been viewed as the operating system for the socially awkward – or at least one that wasn’t valued significantly within the business community. However, I think 2011 will be a turning point where Linux is utilized more and more within the business community. In particular, I think using Linux as the operating system for desktop users will become more prevalent. Realistically many users only need access to email, Internet, and desktop publishing applications. While Microsoft and Apple provide some very nice Operating System options for those needs, both of those Operating Systems include a significant total cost of ownership (TCO). In comparison, Linux Operating systems have a much lower TCO and are much less vulnerable to spyware and viruses, as well. Linux has also always had an “App Store” called repositories.
I was working with one of our Linux based clients last week load testing some servers handling high volumes of live phone calls. At 100 calls the linux server had not yet crossed 1% utilization. In comparison, Windows Systems use more than that processing power just supporting an open browser. Often the response I hear when I mention the efficiency of Linux is: “OK Linux is more efficient but I can’t use it…”
Well. let’s take a look at Unity Desktop as a part of Ubuntu:
Does not look too bad does it? Graphical interface, Icon-based dock, a program menu, and Firefox or Chrome for browsers. Basically, it includes everything necessary for most businesses and it boots in seconds. Furthermore it requires little to no upkeep and its all free.
Keep in mind that no one at Google has Windows or Mac OS X. They have Google’s own flavor of Linux called Goobuntu. These large enterprises are going to start filtering down their desktop environments as popularity grows. That, mixed with the growing number of hosted applications, means that a web browser is all remote workers may need. Once all our apps run from the web, value will probably be driven by the most efficient webOS.
That all being said Linux desktops have 1% market share. I use all 3 operating systems in one day but my wife surfs the web on an Ubuntu based laptop. Facebook at light speed…
ITP, in a joint effort with our partner, Converged, is holding an event on February 11th at the Chophouse in Madison that will display two of today’s most valuable technologies for business. If you want to understand more about how you can guarantee network availability for your business; or how unified communications are changing the way businesses communicate with their customers, then you should attend this event. Featuring live demonstrations of Stratus Avance high availability software and Shoretel VOIP phone systems, you will see how you can drive business through innovative, always available communications.
If you have watched TV or talked to a human in 2010 you know the general buzz and “coolness” factor of the iPad. The question I have been getting more lately is to compare the iPad with a Netbook. Some might say its not a fair comparison but from a business standpoint both have around a $500 price point at their lowest and both aim to provide fast access to your data with long battery life.
So lets compare:
Advertised at 10hrs, real life usage about 8hrs
Average is around 3-4hrs
iOS 4.0 (same as iPhone) can only load apps from App Store
Can run Windows or Linux and install any application
Onscreen or Bluetooth Keyboard
Typical Laptop Keyboard condensed
Instant On reboot is around 10 seconds
5-10 seconds from a sleep/hibernate. Reboot 20-30 seconds
Starts at $499 for wifi only version
Starts at $249 up to $999 depending on OS and specs
As you can see there is no clear “Winner” the answer to which device is best for your business depends on the specific needs of your users and applications. If the instant On and battery life of the iPad is a requirement for walking around and meeting patients than the iPad is your winner. If you need Windows to run that mobile application or Internet Explorer for that one key web application than you need a Windows Netbook.
Don’t forget about the Linux netbook as an option. Linux offers better battery life and performance for basic web usage. You can still Remote Desktop to your windows machines or use Logmein if you need Windows without the worry of Windows Update or Antivirus holding your ATOM processor down. My favorite is by a long time Linux company System 76 (http://bit.ly/hZHXi1). If you haven’t tried Linux in a while take a look again at how far Ubuntu has come in the consumer market.
Windows, Linux or Apple give us a call to find out which is right for your business and your application challenges.
Facebook continues to try to fight against compromised accounts. I know the other day I was online in Facebook when an old friend started talking to me about her trip to England where she was mugged and needed money to be able to get home. The story was quite in depth and the ability to reference that person’s friends and family was impressive. All except the part where I know that person is not in England. I let her know he Facebook as compromised and she should go to: http://www.facebook.com/help/?page=420 to submit to Facebook to have the account taken down.
If they have not changed the account email you can try the “forgot your password” link and reset it. Likely they have changed the password and started send spam. How did they get in? Most likely through malware on your PC or browser. Facebook is too large to verify every account so typically they will just delete you so you can start your Facebook like all over again, bummer.
If you are going to use Facebook on a public computer, try out their new feature, temporary passwords. You have to already put in your mobile phone number into Facebook. Then text “otp” to 32665 and get a password that will work for only the next 20 minutes.
It is either innovative solutions like this or more security questions like what color was your favorite dog…
Amazon’s Kindle went on the offensive recently on their e-reader vs. the iPad. Amazon’s kindle was arguably the first real mainstream successful e-reader. Leveraging their sizable market position in book sales online. They took their content ability to a device. Now in its 3rd generation it continues to get cheaper and the text more clear. The iPad is really what I would call a converged device. The iPad tells you that you don’t want to carry multiple devices and that this unit can be your e-reader/laptop/ipod. The challenge with converged devices is often “jack of all trades, master of none” applies. In the recent TV campaign Kindle takes its shot at the iPad on one of these traits, a glossy screen. Glossy screens are critical to the iPad to reduce finger print show and to make videos and games brighter. The flip side is in direct sunlight this type of screen will perform poorly and may even be near impossible to see.
So when selecting a device for you, ask yourself what you think you will use it for the most and select that device. If you want the convenience of an all-in-one product then make sure you know the trade offs.
I’ve been going through lots of the information on the iPad since its release and here’s my very simple take: it’s really cool, possibly even groundbreaking, but it doesn’t have a place in the business world. Yet. Here’s why…
No keyboard/mouse. Touch screens are amazing multimedia devices. But for typing documents, responding to e-mail, or working within your business application they’re not nearly as productive as a good ol’ keyboard & mouse. And really, what else do you use a computer for in business?
Integration. Integration is powerful stuff for business these days. Those that have it, love it. Those who don’t are trying to get it. Not enough integration on the iPad as it stands today.
Marketing. I don’t think the iPad is really being sold as a business device. Oh, I could be wrong (it wouldn’t be the first time), but other than being really cool, what business advantage does it provide? Ease of use? Probably, but what else? Not much, I’m afraid.
Okay, so let’s be clear about something – I’m not knocking the iPad. I think it’s innovative and well designed. And for personal use, I think it’s fantastic. In the business world, however, it doesn’t provide any real advantage over the existing toolset. I will say this though, I once said the same thing about the iPhone and over time the folks at Apple proved me wrong. If I were to be completely honest here, I guess I wouldn’t mind being proved wrong again.
Let’s face it – for most business professionals, their phone is no longer just a phone. In fact the “phone” functionality is, oddly enough, becoming less and less important as a feature. More important to business users now is integration with business applications, ease of use, e-mail compatibility, and wireless synchronization. Take the iPhone for example. Through the multiple iterations of the OS, users have remained stubbornly loyal even though the phone service itself was quite poor (a result of AT&T’s service in my opinion). With the pending release of OS 4.0 for the iPhone, there’s no doubt that Apple will once again make significant improvements on an already excellent product. Now that the Droid has been released and appears to be holding its own within the market, the market has gotten even tighter for all competitors. Add to the mix the new Windows Series 7 phone slated for release near the end of the year and the world of phones has clearly grown far more complicated (and interesting) than it was just a few years ago. So, what does this all mean to us, the business professionals, and moreover, what does this mean for Blackberry (RIM), the once “default” phone for business people? Of course, no one knows for sure, but I’ve got a few predictions…
Blackberry’s antiquated pricing model and architecture that requires server software be installed on your network will be a thing of the past. With all the other manufacturers providing functionality without the extra piece of software (or cost) this whole “Blackberry Enterprise Server” nonsense has to go away, doesn’t it? I say it does – at least for small and medium businesses.
The iPhone will continue to gain market share. Apple just has too big of a lead on some of the other competitors and the “brains” at Apple have been exceptionally successful at addressing the business world’s needs. The only thing that will hold Apple back will be AT&T. Anyone hear rumors of a deal with Verizon? Anyone?
The Windows phone will do well, but feel some of the pain any new system/software does. Be prepared for very cool, yet sometimes irritating, and an overall lukewarm experience.
The Droid will hang tough, but find it becomes old news very quickly in this ever changing market. Speed is the need in this fickle market.
Ultimately, I think the innovation within the market will continue to grow – possibly far beyond the true needs of users today (in case we aren’t already there). I think the differences between the platforms, however, that will begin to dwindle, with each manufacturer stealing the others quality concepts and good ideas. At the end of the day, I think it will be a benefit to all, providing us with better, more adaptable phones – and we’ll enjoy more choices than ever before.
Okay, okay, so this isn’t directly related to legal technology, but it is interesting. Tech Republic is a great source for all things “tech” and it’s no surprise that’s exactly where I found the article. Take a look at it…just for fun if nothing else.
Microsoft’s long awaited “Windows Home Server” has finally been released – at least as an OEM software product. It is now available for purchase from a number of online retailers. This means that the full systems shouldn’t be far behind (Windows Home Server pre-installed on various systems, including the HP MediaSmart Home Server).
The product was announced back in January of 2007, but has been in development for a couple years. The platform is Microsoft’s attempt to develop an easy-to-use media server and backup system for home networks. The initial offerings from HP include two systems with the pre-installed software – one with 500 gigabytes of storage, the other with 1 terabyte.
At its core, Windows Home Server is a shared network device that may be accessed on a home network, as well as over the Internet. This allows users to store video, pictures, music, etc. in a centralized location. In addition, it provides centralized management for remote desktop access (similar in some ways to Small Business Server). Microsoft has attempted to make the setup for sharing data over the Internet easy using its recently launched Windows Live service.
The other major selling point is the built-in backup. Although the technical documentation is not available online yet, Microsoft indicates that that the backup will be automated (to run daily by default), and will allow quick restoration of individual files and even entire systems for connected computers.
Much more information is available on Microsoft’s website at the link referenced above.
What is the best gift you can give a guy? How about a cell phone back up drive? These nifty little devices are compatible with a number of cell phones and can be plugged into your computer with a USB connection. You can find one version at www.redenvelope.com (I am sure you can find them in other techy stores and I am sure the price ranges will vary drastically). Also, RedEnvelope always has an option to add a gift box for $5; they dress up a gift like nothing else can. Their gift boxes are awesome – think Tiffany-quality gift boxes. This is a great gift for the guy who has everything and is at least a little tech savvy. Perfect gift found!