Browsing the blog archives for May, 2011.


Don’t kill yourself to sleep

Current Affairs, Health

I am a hardcore sleeper. I love to sleep, though not as much as some other people. I always thought I had great sleep habits. I went to bed at reasonable hours, I didn’t sleep with the TV on, so I don’t have to have background sounds. I don’t even have to have it completely dark. So, I am a pretty adaptable sleeper. The one thing I didn’t factor in was the position that I slept in. I would sleep on my back, front, sides, whatever was comfortable because if it was comfortable, then that means I that’s how I should sleep so I can get the best rest, right?

Apparently not.

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My Ideal Home Device

Web/Tech

Over the past few months, while sitting on the couch watching TV, I jump back and forth between devices depending on what I am wanting to do during that time, or sometimes what is closest to me.

If you asked me what was the perfect device for home use, I would have to get a qualifier depending on what you want to do.

  • If you want to play games or read a book, then I would suggest either a smartphone or tablet (iOS or Android) device.

     

     

     

  • If you want to surf the net, it’s much easier on a laptop or netbook of some sort. (The full browser makes this much easier)

     

     

     

  • If you don’t want to have to deal with viruses or installations of any sort and amazing battery life, I have a Chrome Netbook that works really well.

     

     

     

So, “It depends” is actually a valid response because my dad has completely different uses for his computer than I do.

So, with tomorrow’s Google I/O conference beginning at noon, I would like to put my idea of the perfect couch computer out there.

Ideally, I would want all of the above in one device so that I could play games and work with apps, but also have a full browser with a file system, extended battery life, and no problems with viruses.

I know this is a lot to ask, but Google’s operating systems together actually are so close to fitting my criteria that it hurts.

Think about it, Android is not very good with battery life, and the browser is rough, but you have apps and a great e-reader, it has a file system, and has a lot of functionality.

Chrome OS doesn’t really have much of a file system since it is supposed to be just a browser, but it has amazing battery life, a full keyboard for typing, an amazing browser, and no problems at all with viruses.

So if you could put all of the features together here, it would really be an ideal world and wouldn’t take near as much work considering they are owned by the same company.

There are two ways that I could see this working.

  1. Create an Android version of the Chrome browser that would do all of the things we know and love Android for, but would give you a full browser with extensions and access to the file system.
  2. Create a dual-boot device that shares the file system of Chrome and Android. So upon startup, you would choose either Android or Chrome OS depending on what functions you want and you would have access to the same file system so that if you were working with a picture on Android, you would be able to upload it at next boot on the Chrome browser to Facebook.

As far as hardware goes, I really like the Xoom. I played with one for a short amount of time at Staples last week and really liked it. It was a really nice device with a really good feel. I don’t think you can get rid of the touchscreen because for gaming and many new applications, touch is the easiest way to navigate and get the job done, but for those who need a little more user input control through a keyboard, I believe it would be beneficial to have a real keyboard. I personally would like to see a flip and swivel keyboard. What this means is that if you were wanting to use Android as it is today, then I would just have the touchscreen to work with, but if I wanted to write this post on the device, I would just unlatch the keyboard from the back of the device and swivel it around to be more like a typical keyboard on a laptop. This would allow me to have the best of both worlds, especially if the weight, size, and battery life were similar to the CR-48 I currently have at home for Chrome OS.

So, overall, I think Google has a couple of great products, but in order to create a device that does it all, the Chrome and Android teams need to work together to integrate the platforms. I know that Eric Schmidt said that Chrome is for regular computers and Android is for touchscreens, and I agree with that to a point. But if they want the home user market to sit in front of the TV with a device, it’s going to be hard to outperform the iPad. If I can get my extensions and bookmarks on my Android device’s browser and include a real keyboard, then you just might see me move to one device instead of piecemeal depending on the function of the day.

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The Hidden Costs of Corporate Email

Web/Tech

Microsoft’s Tom Rizzo this Wednesday wrote a blog post about the hidden costs of Google Apps. Now, does he do this out of the goodness of his heart? No. Does he do this just for fun since “Google is failing in the enterprise” and Microsoft feels absolutely warm and fuzzy about their place in the enterprise? Of course not.

He does this because he has a goal and wants those around him to agree with his goal of moving people back away from Google Apps. Much of his information is incorrect, though to the common reader who has not done the research themselves, seems plausible. Below is my story about how we moved to Google Apps from Microsoft Exchange with much success.

We are a 200 person company where about half of our users have email accounts and we’ve actually moved our company over to Google Apps with great success. It took some training since Gmail is obviously different, but it’s been a great experience. The $360 Help Desk Support Services in the graphic is a supplemental service that you don’t have to get. If you buy your Google Apps licenses from a partner like Ltech or CloudSherpas, where the price is still $50/user/year, then you actually get support for free, though only to the account administrators. So the administrators troubleshoot and if it goes above their head, then they come to the partner support.

And if you factor in the amount that it costs for support and maintenance of the hardware and software of an Exchange server, which is the primary reason we moved, not for office and such, then you definitely come out ahead.

Because the piece they aren’t talking about is that you automatically get offsite storage for all 25GB of your mail, multi-site redundancy, Enterprise messaging and video/voice chat through Google Talk, and you can buy the message security piece, which is the add-on postini piece from the infographic, but you get postini filtering for free. Do you realize how much this would all cost, and how piecemeal it would be if you tried to create a Microsoft Exchange based solution of the same thing. Last year we did the pricing for 100 people and here is what we came out with.

On-Site solution with off-site redundancy

Exchange hardware – $2,000 per year with 5 year depreciation

Exchange License – $2,000 per year with SA

Spam Filtering software – $1,200 per year

Archiving product – $1,900 per year

OCS Hardware/Software with SA – $2,900 per year

off-site redundancy for all of these products – not even going to go there

Total of $10,000 if you don’t have off-site redundancy in place

OR

Totally off-site solution

Hosted Exchange with a lot of additional storage since most only come with 1-5GB of space – With 1GB space – $6,000 per year

Hosted OCS – $2,400

Offsite spam filtering – $2,100

Offsite archiving – $5,400

Total of $15,900

Now, for Google Apps, here is our pricing.

Google Apps completely hosted

Google Apps bought from LTech – $5,000 per year

Power Panel – $400 per year

Single Sign On – $900 per year

Postini Message Discovery Extended (10 year retention) – $3,300

Total – $9,600

So, as you can see, Google Apps is still cheaper than both of the other approaches, even without redundancy of the first Exchange scenario.

People just haven’t actually done the research on this in order to see the cost savings most of the times, and salesmen like this have a very clear goal and manipulate the numbers to meet that goal. So do your own research if you are actually interested in this and don’t rely on sales techniques.

At any rate, Exchange is not as cheap as this article suggests in order to get all of the features of Google Apps. And the vast majority of businesses aren’t even to the size of our corporation, and spending $100 per year on each user for email in a 10 person company makes a lot more sense than setting up all of the infrastructure needs of a fortune 500 company where you need a full time support professional just to troubleshoot all of the server/desktop issues for mail and collaboration alone. Plus you get Google Docs, sites, and lots of other features for free with no maintenance downtime and a 99.9% SLA.

Personally, I am going to push this to any organization that I work with or consult with, and our company has been extremely satisfied with all of the features and plan on staying with Apps from here forward.

Plus, it definitely helps that I just got my Google Apps Certified Deployment Specialist certification, so I do kind of know what I am talking about.

If you’re interested in moving to Google Apps, check out their site, or let me know if you have any questions and I’ll be happy to tell you all about it, or maybe help you make the migration.

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