Archive for July, 2013


How Google is Helping Customers Get Over Apple.

 

31 July 2013
Melbourne Oz,
Loren W.

 

 clip_image002_thumb.jpg With the release of the Nexus 7 Tablet, Google with Asus did something pretty special. They took the tablet form factor dominated by Apple since the launch of the iPad since its release in November 2012, and shrank it from a 9.5 x 7.3 x .37 inch device to a more ‘svelte’ 7.8 x 4.7x .41 inch device with only a little bit lower screen quality (~216 ppi vs ~264 ppi for the iPad). This happened  a month after Apple launched the iPad mini with a 7.87×5.3x.28 in model in October 2012., However the iPad Mini took a step back and only offered a ~162ppi screen a whopping 25% reduction in screen quality of the Nexus 7 and a 29% reduction over the larger iPad.

This is all relevant because when Google/Asus launched the Nexus 7 they did this for under $200, Apple for $329, for what many felt was a lower quality device. However, many marveled at the new Apple device whilst others were just locked into using Apple eco-system having media, such as music and video in the Apple only iTunes, so it was not a slam dunk for Google by any stretch of the imagination.

 clip_image004_thumb.jpg Well Google/Asus has done it again, this time with the launch of the new Nexus 7 (or Nexus 7 – 2013).
Now the quality gets a big bump above the golden chalice title of retina screen with ~323ppi. Retina® screen being the name Apple gives to devices with over 326ppi for small devices and 264ppi for iPads.

Apple has hinted the retina screen for their iPad is not possible till 2014 at the earliest (either a market issue or a technical one). In the case of the new Nexus 7, few will care, it will attract new users, now a slave to the Apple eco-system or make many consider the jump.

For 15% of this huge marketplace there is yet another factor. The television, that other golden chalice, which has yet to see an elegant transition of content and users otherwise watching from other mobile devices or computers. That is many watch content (movies, video, YouTube, Netflix etc.) on a device other than the TV (85% to be exact), and using 50% of the Internet in the process. But getting content to the TV has proved less than simple.

 clip_image006_thumb.jpg In my case I get content from my PC computer and ‘stream’ it my Apple device then stream it to my Apple TV connected to my TV. Far from difficult it is not elegant, but works well usually. The complication there, is the streaming device (say an iPhone or iPad) cannot totally be used to turn off during the streaming process, and there is no social element to it, just a technical one.
 clip_image008_thumb.jpg For that Google has launched the GoogleCast a small device looking a lot like a USB key, but offering a method to stream from apps, videos, PCs, Macs, music etc. simply and cleanly. It essentially makes any TV with an HDMI port (smart tv or dumb), into a viewing device via a method it would not normally get.

About Me

Loren W

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An American/ Brit, that immigrated to Australia less than a decade ago, after running an ISP or two, then as a product manager for one of the largest Telcos in the world British Telecom, I went on to introduce something called business broadband in the UK then several other mobile, and cloud services in the UK and here in Australia for some of the largest companies in the world including NEC Japan (man this dude is old). Many of these are mainstays of technology today. As a result passion for all things tech are part professional and part personal. Full of funny and not so stories, this is my brain dump page.“The Technology Market like the Internet itself, evolves differently in different continents and countries”. Like the cars shown in Mad Max and the fact the last Pontiac GTO was made here, Australia, offers a different view, cool, and sometimes out of sync with the rest of the world. A country the size of the USA but the population of New York City, some things here are just not like the others
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21 July 2013
Melbourne, Oz

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If you were to give away to an existing moderately heavy mobile phone user the best phone of every phone platform Apple, Android, Windows, and Blackberry, on the condition you actually had to use the phone as your only phone, many would pass on the opportunity. Not so surprising, this is due to the ecosystem we are bought into already. This might be apps, music, or some other phone feature we cannot do without. clip_image006

As many of us use our phones more as computers than ever, this matters more than ever. Here I am for instance writing this on my nexus7, then sending to my PC for spell checking adding art formatting, and then uploaded here.

I thought about this now because Nokia is about to launch what many think (myself included) is one the best if not the best mobile ever made. Having owned then ditched one of the first Windows8 phones due to the lack of ecosystem mainly apps, appreciate how gorgeous a Windows phone is. When I had it, I had a Now what feeling about it. This was during a time when Apple app store was becoming mature, and Androids own App store was developing well as also. Like the iPhone and unlike Android Windows phone is quite locked down in terms of tweaking. This means you need to be happy with what it does do. It is all about timing, marketing, perception,   and delivery in the IT game. Computers, tablets, and mobiles are no different. Microsoft showed us the way from mobiles, (now called dumb phones) & PDAs, to smart phones, phablets (big mobiles), and tablets. Yet it took Apple with the iPhone, and iPad to start it off and make it happen. It took Samsung to kick start the phablets craze (one I like). However with the launch this week of the innovative new Nokia 1020, we will likely see what I think is very sad. A great new phone from the barely third place provider in Microsoft. Since the launch of Windows Phone, updates have been slow, when they needed to be better, a problem Apple and Android had but not as late in the marketplace as Microsoft was. Then there is the ongoing naming mess and confusion between, Windows Phone 8, Windows 8, Windows8 RT 8 and Windows 8 Pro. All look the same with Windows 8 Pro being  the same as Windows 8 but the name was adopted for certain tablets so they could be differentiated from those running the hopefully soon to die Windows8  RT. On top of that mess, all of them look the same, but different apps must be used for tablets, PC and phone. This debacle means Windows phones have sold very badly. There are pockets of hope outside the USA with main provider Nokia always being less successful in the USA than out of it. Just to make bad matters worse, to lessen the financial risk of poor sales of the new Nokia 1020,  stock is in short supply before it is even released because a minimal amount of units are being produced by Nokia This sell out is viewed as favorably versus over production. The risk to Microsoft and Nokia is that is viewed as a stunt or just turns people off.

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The bottom line is Windows Phone 8 (should be called windows 8 phone) by perception if nothing else seems to lack enough features as an operating system to draw customers over from the same customers with iPhones or Android that have phones like the S4 by Samsung or the One X by HTC and Nexus, as and Sony Also in retrospect had Microsoft like Android offered a tablet with Windows Phone 8, and not 2 different OS, it might be a different story again (still not too late.) I think this is the only thing can save windows phone and if done soon only. (Not likely) Even Apple has one OS for Macs and only one OS for mobile devices. The new Nokia 1020 phone itself is very attractive has decent battery life, an inspiring and market leading 41 mega pixel camera, but no SD card memory, a real challenge I think. Unfortunately it is doubtful the  Nokia 1020 hail Mary Jesus phone , can win the day without Microsoft throwing some smart hail Mary marketing and awareness money at it not likely.

About The Author
Loren W.

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After running an ISP or two, then as a product manager for one of the largest telcos in the world,  I went on to introduce something called business broadband in the UK and then several other cloud services  in the UK and here in Australia (man this dude is old).


But Will It Make A Difference This Late in The Game for Microsoft ?

Melbourne Australia
19 July 2013

The Computer Business is Fickle. Recent Stats from Gartner and others show a steady decline in PC Sales, but tablets, laptops and hybrid tablet/PCs are not counted in the equation. So is the market on the decline or just evolving, who knows.

However, in terms of tablets, as an early Windows 8 adopter and more recently, an early Windows 8 tablet adopter as well, I was prepared for the challenges. As I have written previously, had a windows 8 or 7 tablet come out in July 2009 when Windows 7 launched, I am sure others would have hailed it amazing. It took Apple another year to launch the iPad in April 2010 for amazing to happen.

In my case I purchased the Asus ME400c recently for review, it has the Intel Atom Z2760 CPU and a battery that gives an industry tested (per PC World) 8.5 hours. Better than the HP Envy at 7 hours and less than the Lenovo TP2 with over 10 hours. For the price as a test device I was pretty impressed at @$450AU RRP.

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There were GREAT challenges of course. The Windows OSK (on screen keyboard) for a tablet is lousy at best. Especially when compared to an iPad or an Android device like my Samsung Nexus 10.1, but again living in a Microsoft eco-sphere at least partially means compromises. Sometimes though it is so bad you have to hold down a screen then keep it held down press a keyboard key to stop the keyboard going away again, buggy at best.

SO an upgrade to windows 8.1 Preview in my mind could not be any worse hopefully. The first challenge is actually getting 8.1 onto my tablet. With a 6mb Wi-Fi connection and trying to get it to connect to the Microsoft Server in Australia to download meant an hour in it was only 5% in. Downloading Windows 8.1 to PC, then sharing it across a network saved heaps of time. As soon as windows 8 was detected the tablet said it needed to download some KB updates before it could install windows 8.1. About 30 minutes later all was done including install, but there were more than a few problems. Going to check updates again post 8.1 meant the installation of more KB updates. This is interesting as it is the same update it installed prior to installation.

My guess is it needs some drivers form the update and others after, but perhaps I am just being simplistic. So after the pre-install, and post install there are around 30 KB updates made to enable 8.1. However the last ones make it very worthwhile. There were some niggly issues right after install, that these updates seem to address.

All and all the update makes a huge difference. I am just not sure with all the confusion and some apathy from suppliers, around the RT, Windows 8, now Windows 8.1 and lack of support etc, I am not sure who will bother

About The Author
Loren W.

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After running an ISP or two, then as a product manager for one of the largest telcos in the world,  I went on to introduce something called business broadband in the UK and then several other cloud services  in the UK and here in Australia (man this dude is old).


Dealing with Large Volumes of Email is Not that Hard

15 July 2013
Melbourne Australia
@mr_internet

I get asked all the time how I manage email whilst working for a company of 400,000 employees, and also manage having 100,000 followers in social media, without getting viruses or going crazy with the volume of email.

I have found no one solution that works well, but rather a combination of services that act with as few interfaces as possible, and also deployed email for millions as well.

From the user side, this makes an email client a big deal when trying to manage work, and home life email, especially when trying to find a work email from home or a home email from work, making sure as few NSFW emails appear when searching from work. The first exercise here is to stretch the definition of ‘white lists’ and ‘black lists’ to white activity and black activity with white lists thought of as just friendly emails, and black lists (the opposite of white lists per above.

The first exercise is to make a list of black (things you are trying to prevent), and white (things you want to allow). It might look like this

White Activity

Black Activity

· Allow work email to be viewed at home

· Allow non-work email to be viewed at work

· Enable some 3rd part search tool to enable better search on work or home email

· Prevent non work email from mixing with work email viewed from work

· Allow a failsafe for all blacklisted email to go for a certain period of time so it can be viewed separately (to ensure accuracy or view what junk is being sent).

· Stop spam, malware, junk email and black listed (non-friendlies) from all emails

· Filter email at home to be work and non-work

 

· Create a secondary back up of work and home email that can be viewed at home or at work

 

· Allow archiving that can be monitored for accuracy and has some separate duplicity.

 

· Have only 1 interface required

 

My personal challenges requirements in this
I am a geek, sometimes crazy busy, sometimes less so. I want tools I can fiddle with when not busy or not fiddle with and still have everything just work. If I lose an important email I could lose my job

Keep it Simple

3 or 4 Tools

· 3 x Gmail Accounts

o Personal email sent to me@my-personal-domain.com spam and all

o Work Email only Clean me@work.com

o Work and Personal email clean me@my-personal-domain.com and me@work.com

· Microsoft Outlook – (Home and Work Primary)

· Firetrust – MailWasherPro (the best of New Zealand) –

· Optional – Xobni for Outlook

What it looks like

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Making it all work simply

· This looks a bit complicated, but I assure you requires little intervention once set-up.

· Step 1- Set-up 3 Gmail accounts

· Step 2 – I have 2 primary email addresses me@my-personal-domain.com and me@work.com

· Step 3 – Forward all me@work.com email to Gmail account 2. Note: you could send to account 1 but my work email is clean already by this stage, filtering again could mean a missed email, also I want a work only Gmail account.

· Step 4 – Forward all me@my-personal-domain.com to Gmail account 1, non-cleaned

· Step 5 – Set up a mailwasher pro account (or other filtering software) on your pc, and set it up that pulls in email from Gmail account 1 to filter spam, black lists, white lists etc.

· Step 6 – Set-up Outlook on PC to include now cleaned email from Gmail account 1, and email from Gmail Account 2 (already cleaned)

· Step 7 – Forward all now clean work and personal email to Gmail Account 3 (offers a clean email account in the cloud this could also be copied to another email cloud provider (Yahoo, Hotmail etc).

· Step 8 Optional, install Xobni for outlook offers great archive searching.

· Step 9 – Enjoy email.

Summary & Redundancy

Email is important to me, and perhaps you also. I have been using this model for years. If my PC goes down, or I am traveling I have another PC /Mac/Tablet/Phone Internet café I can look at filtered or unfiltered email for work or home. If Gmail goes down, my email that was last backed up to the cloud is still there. The only better solution I can see is a mailwasher pro type app that works in the cloud rather than locally. Otherwise I think this might be as near perfect as it gets.

Got a better solution let me know

About The Author

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After running an ISP or two, As product manager I went on to introduce business broadband in the UK and then several other cloud services  in the UK and here in Australia (man this dude is old).