Archive for category Non-Techie

Send me email at my web address–what?

So, I take the bus to and from work every day as I’m still a bit European in my ways. The bus company – I won’t mention any names – recently announced some new routes and as such they’ve posted announcements about the upcoming changes. Have a look at this one, which I found funny (at 6 a.m.!):

proposed route 234

The best part, which like I said, made me laugh at 6:00 a.m. was Jack’s email address in the last paragraph. If you’ve got problems you’re supposed to send him email at jack.whisner@kingcounty.gov/metro which makes me wonder Jack, do you want me to email you or go to the website cause that surely isn’t an SMTP compliant address.

DOH!

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You know you were on a bad flight when…

This morning I woke up to check my email after travelling 16 hours yesterday to my destination only to find the following email in my inbox:

On behalf of all of us at XXXX Airlines, I want to take this opportunity to reach out to you regarding Flight XXX on October 24th.

I realize how alarming it can be to experience unexpected turbulence during a flight such as you encountered during your travel from Tokyo. Please know that XXXX utilizes some of the best technology available to help ensure smooth air for our customers. Even so, turbulence can at times be unforeseen and simply unavoidable. Our crew used their experience and training to ensure the situation stabilized and that everyone was comfortable as the flight continued to XXXXX. I can certainly appreciate any concern and anxiety you may have felt personally or on behalf of others. Thank you for your understanding of this unusual in-flight event.

Whether in the air or on the ground, our priority is keeping our customers and our people safe. And while safety is at the core of our business and the foundation of everything we do, we are equally committed to service. We welcome an early opportunity to better serve your travel needs in the near future.

I guess as a seasoned traveller I take turbulence for granted but it must have been really bumpy for that email to be sent (oh and of course the paramedics did have to board at disembarkation to help some passengers with wounds, so yeah,  it was probably serious).

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Spring, Samsung, Google and WinMo

I use Sprint for my cellular service like many other Americans. It’s reliable, it’s fairly inexpensive, it has an unlimited data plan and, well it works (I won’t mention friends and colleagues who love their fruit machines, but can never get them to work due to the network, but alas that’s another story). When I initially signed up for service I thought I’d try something new, something different. For that, I opted for the Samsung Moment:

samsung moment

pretty sleek device, had a QWERTY keyboard and overall looked and felt nice. Over time it had some issues (airplane mode, upgrading from 1.5 to 2.1, being s-l-o-w and sometimes non-responsive) but nothing too drastic that the ole IT cure all (turn it off and back on again) couldn’t fix.

Well, with TechEd Berlin coming up, I’ve got to go to Berlin to speak which means going overseas. Sprint for those of you who don’t know run on a CDMA network and 99% of their phones are CDMA. What does this mean? Well, it means that their phones won’t work overseas, so there goes the moment out the window. So, being a Microsoft MVP and one who is always sticking up for their technology and software I pushed out the boat and had them issue me an Intrepid:

Search-Bing-via-Voice-on-Samsung-Intrepid-2

Runs Windows Mobile 6.5 and so far, not too bad. Now that I’ve got the history out of the way, here is the intent of the article. The Moment versus the Intrepid or essentially Android versus Windows Mobile.

Andriod

At first I wasn’t sure I’d like it as Google makes you log in to the device and their primary goal no matter what anyone says is that they want to track you and use your information to their advantage. It’s their business model. So, no gmail account, no phone services (or limited ones at that). However, once that was past, it was a pretty streamlined experience. I can’t say it was perfect but it was good. The default OS seemed to work ok, it had functionality and worked pretty well. However, I never ended up getting a full day’s battery out of the phone at normal use and I can only equate that to the OS.

As for the breadth of applications, not too shabby, however this is where they need some work. The Android Marketplace is at best a Moroccan Bazaar. No quality control, no real information, just put your app up here and we’ll help tout it to the Androidians (that’s my new name for those who use Android).

Windows Mobile

After the first few days of having the Intrepid, I found it pretty straightforward and easy to use, however I missed the bigger screen. The keypad on the Intrepid wasn’t as nice either, but that’s not really an OS drawback/feature, but it’s noticeable. Now, back to the OS. I will say Google seemed to trump Windows Mobile 6.5 here as when I click the start menu on my Windows Mobile I get some strange fandangled layout of applications which reminds me of some tetris like game on Xbox. You can’t rearrange them, you can’t ABC order them, you can only send to top and hope for the best. Mail however works a treat and the battery life allows me to have a full day of work on the phone without needing to reach for my charger. The Windows Marketplace too seems much more streamlined and groomed compared to that of the Android Market, however my concern with the WM Marketplace is pre-requisite checking. Bing has an app that requires special resolution, however it doesn’t say that anywhere and not until after I downloaded it and the .cab tried to install itself did it error out telling me I had an incompatible device. These kinds of things should be checked prior to download or even better yet WinMo, don’t show me them if my device is uncapable.

Summary

In short (I know I didn’t do too much comparison, but I like to keep these articles below 1000 words), they’re both good solid devices. I will say I feel more productive with my Intrepid Windows Mobile device but knew I had more “fun” options with my Moment. I have a full days battery life with the WinMo, but had more of the community behind the apps on the Android. All in all, if Windows Phone 7 Series is more crafted and well refined these two players, Android and Windows Mobile could easily take back some of the market that Apple has had the stronghold on for some time now and the competitionwill only make the devices strive for betterdom in the long run.

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Sorry I’ve been OOF for a while

For those of you that like acronyms, apologies, but I’ve been OOF as of late. OOF is a term usually found in email which stems back to the original mail system days when someone was Off Of Facility or Out Of Facility. Many people commonly mistake it with OOO which is the newer spin on Out Of Office, however for us hardcore techies, OOF will never die.

None the less, to make (or try to keep) a long story short, I’m back in business and should be blogging more soon!

Watch this space :)

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Want a free copy of Microsoft Office?

Marketing…Design…It’s all about getting your name out there and your brand recognized. Well it seems quite a few people know what a copy of Microsoft Office looks like. Average retail price of Office, depending on the version is ballpark $100 (ish). Some engineers decided to see how much this $100 was worth to the average passer-by. They took an Office box and put an alarm in it to see how many people would try and pick it up, and of course when they did pick it up, the joke was on them.  Have a look for yourself :)

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The Seattle Bingball (er basketball) team

If you live in a European country, you’re probably used to seeing sporting teams wearing advertising on their tops…not so in the USA, until today. Microsoft play a key role in the Seattle community scene and have always supported the local soccer/football team the Sounders, however today they’ve announced an even larger relationship with the Seattle Storm WNBA team. The team will be sporting the Bing logo on the front of their jersey’s for the following season:

bing-basketball

As well you can see Bing is sponsoring in the background and it will be all over if you go watch a game.  Back to the Sounders FC, they announced new jersey’s also:

xbox jerseys

So, as you can see, Microsoft is putting back in to the community in which its involved.

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British Airways – A (corrupt) UK Institution

So it’s been all over the news, BA cabin attendants who have been on strike about pay.  Then there’s Willy Walsh who says BA can cover the issues…Well I’d like to address both issues as I’ve had the “pleasure” to fly with BA in the midst of all of this malarkey!

The strike began on March 20 and I was set to fly from Seattle to London – a BA Hub…Heathrow even.  Beautiful Terminal 5.  Well, that’s the only beautiful I had the chance to experience.  Due to what I can only equate to the strike, about an hour after take off from Seattle we were served “dinner”.  This was some iceberg lettuce with a piece of cold chicken topped over it.  No hot food, no choice of meal, just splat, a cold chicken breast on some lettuce.

Now, I’m not one to normally complain, but NEVER before in all my 1,000,000+ miles of travel (and especially on a 9+ hour flight) have I ever been fed a cold meal (I’ve been on over 50 trans-atlantic flights), which would probably cost less than $5 based on the looks of it.  I didn’t pay for the ticket, but doing some quick research, reveals it would have cost about $750 or even more.  What else did I get from the institutional UK airline that needs a real kicking (see what I think of the cabin attendants in a minute)…a cold hard turkey, ham and cheese roll just before arriving.  So cold that the wrap that encased the turkey, ham and cheese was breakable.  This added with the fact that you could tell the cabin staff didn’t want to be there made the flight oh so much more enjoyable.

Now, let’s take a look at the later part – the cabin staff.  Strike because you’re unhappy right?  You inconsiderate fools.  When you took the job, you knew how much you were going to get paid.  You signed the contract and the terms of your employment, didn’t you?  Oh and maybe you haven’t recently realised that there are loads of people at the moment who are unemployed and would love a job – even at less than what you’re getting paid.  Do you care?  Obviously not, as you want to put the rest of us who are working and rely on flying at peril because you’re mad at Mr Walsh.  Good way to earn the respect of the British public who are already cynical without you needing to go on strike.

I’ve got three solutions – all of which would easily fix the problems at hand:

1) Get rid of the sodden airline and give the business to someone who cares

2) Get rid of Unite altogether, as what is the point behind an airline union these days unless you’re really being treated badly (and by the way BA cabin staff, you aren’t…you’ve got jobs and paychecks – more than a lot of others do today)

3) Replace the staff who think they’re better than everyone else, currently those striking, with people who would love to have a paying job and can’t get on the employment ladder at the moment due to the economical crisis.

Look BA, get your act together as I’m not flying with you any more and trust me, I’m not the only one who’s called time on your silly antics.

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Acronyms!

Note: This post was inspired by two full days of tech talk while on campus in Redmond.  It’s not meant to be too informative, but more so funny than anything else.  I hope you enjoy and it might make sense :)

Today I was talking with a PM from WCL about some NDA stuff, pretty cool.  We talked about MDOP and the fact it had some cool bits in it, including MED-V and App-V.  There’s also AGPM and DEM – which if when collecting its bits shows you a BSOD , you’ve got DaRT to remedy things.  If you want a DaRT heads up, there’s always AIS.  DaRT, by design isn’t supported on USB but creates an ISO for a CD/DVD.  It used to be ERD but now’s DaRT.  Ok, enough about DaRT.

Now, WRT MDOP, there’s the EULA and the VLK agreement.  You need either SA or an EA for MDOP.  Easy right?  Well, it also has some tools that integrate with SCOM and SCCM. You do know also you can use SCCM to do things related to WDS and WSUS?  They all revolve around the OS which can be deployed with the help of MCS.

Well, that happened all within 24 hours.  If it seems too intense, stick to word as WYSIWYG.

TTFN!

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Ever feel like you’re being watched?

A picture is worth 1,000 words they say.  You think that having your internet filtered is being watched, try being here :)

DSCF0890 (1024x768)

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Opinions in IT

The world of Information Technology as we all know is a very big world, and it only is getting larger and more diverse.  As such, it comes with choices – many of them for that matter.  With choice also comes opinion.  According to Merriam Webster the definition of opinion is:

a view, judgment, or appraisal formed in the mind about a particular matter

In most cases what bloggers write about is their personal viewpoints, or opinions on a topic at hand.  They often include facts, however at some point, if it’s IT related, there will be an opinion.  Let’s take a few examples that exist in the IT world today:

  • Browsers (IE v Firefox v Chrome v Opera)
  • Hypervisors (Hyper-V v VMware v VirtualBox)
  • Operating Systems (Windows v Linux v Mac)
  • Software (Exchange v Lotus v Scalix)

Looking at the aforementioned, there is loads of grey area and what defines the opinion of one versus the other really boils down to the project or question at hand.  IE might be best if you need ActiveX.  Mac might be best if you’re doing graphics design…

One of the greatest IT project management posters/comics I’ve come across is:

project-management

Which describes the IT lifecycle perfectly.  What it signifies in a sense is that everyone has a differing opinion.  Said best by Nietzsche:

“One often contradicts an opinion when what is uncongenial is really the tone in which it was conveyed”

And for that reason, IT is one of the most complex fields in the industry.  Everyone is allowed to think what they want and say what they want – it might cause controversy (as my opinion did the other day) – and due to the uncongenial way of reading blog posts, more opinions are formed.  Who is right, it really depends on how you look at it and what the point of the article/opinion was in the first place.  If we all had the same opinion, we’d all be running bland systems with no uniqueness to them whatsoever and IT wouldn’t be fun at all, would it?

So, here’s to another year of opinions, change and choice in the IT field, and just because I’m a Microsoft MVP and most of my day-to-day work is based on Microsoft technologies doesn’t mean that those solutions will be my defacto answer for everything.  What it does mean is that I have a passion for Microsoft technologies and I enjoy sharing that passion with the community, be it at conferences, on my blog, in forums or other various ways.  That said, I’m also got various other non-Microsoft certifications and have installed numerous variants of systems in my years as an IT Pro, henceforth, I’ll share my opinions, taking all of that in to consideration.

Here’s to hearing your opinions :)

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