Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Helping friends switch to Mac from Windows

Wanna do your friends a favour helping them switch to a Mac from Windows?

I found this article on 10 ways to help people switch to a Mac From my own experience of helping some of my friends it has some good tips and tricks.

The best ones highlighted in the article for me were:

  • Explaining the Dock - a key part of Mac OS X
  • Providing an overview of Mail, Calendar and Contacts - as most people will need this and it’s a little different to (say) Outlook on Windows… more like using an iPhone, which many switchers will probably already have
  • App store - something that a lot of people will get into, a new way of buying and maintaining software on your new Mac
  • Printers - a must!
  • System Preferences - so people can tweak the settings ‘under the hood’, or at least the easy and visible ones anyway… there are deeper ones that require a knowledge of Unix and use of the Terminal
  • …. and of course…. loading Office for Mac (so they don’t get homesick ;) )
A few other tips I would have added are:
  • Good tips on filing documents and how to make good use of Spotlight
  • … and how to use iLife (Music, Photos) and maybe even iWork (Pages, Numbers and Keynote) to help them let go of Office, if they want to experience a more creative way of doing stuff.
I am sure there are many others I have forgotten, having used Macs for over 10 years its easy to take it all for granted now…. but part of the fun of switching IMHO is exploring and learning.

For those switchers out there, enjoy! and contact me if you need help, I’ll give you details of how to transfer donations to me PayPal account ;) lol

Friday, October 19, 2012

Managers have bigger brains... at least in the long run ;)

Here is an article from UNSW that confirms what managers have long known and the rest of us have long doubted ;)

Well it's official, not only do they get the 'perks', Managers also have bigger brains, at least in the long run.  Here's a quote from some research... 

For the first time, researchers have identified a clear link between managerial experience throughout a person's working life and the integrity and larger size of the hippocampus – the area of the brain responsible for learning and memory. It seems managing other people at work triggers structural changes in the brain, protecting its memory and learning centre well into old age. 

For the full article see Grey matter: How managing others... 

Towards a common schema for web content

For those interested in tagging, check out this article about schema.org which is described as

Schema.org -- launched in June of 2011 -- exists to support this initiative and develop the categories and tag sets for commonly used items across the Web.

To me, this is a great development. Well worth looking at if you need some ideas on how to classify and 'tag' web content and information published on the web.

VDI simplifies BYOD

One of the biggest challenges that any organization allowing BYOD will face is that of support. It is simply unrealistic to expect the helpdesk to be able to support all manner of mobile devices, so organizations may turn to VARs. Solution providers can sell revised maintenance contracts that include services such as provisioning end-user devices and offering support for certain mobile operating systems.

BYOD is a pet subject of mine.  Being an Apple user in a corporate sense is 'challenging' and I can't wait for the day when BYOD is a non event in terms of using any device you like inside and outside of work to get stuff done.

The latest thread in the BYOD discussion seems to be the use of VDI (Virtual Desktop Integration) to 'eliminate' the potential complexity and cost of managing physical devices.

Virtualisation is nothing new, its been around for a while, but the idea that VDI is an appropriate solution to facilitate BYOD is relatively new.

Some of the press, including articles by Gartner, indicate that the TCO for VDI is worth it over a 3-5 year period but that may companies balk at the initial costs.  Strangely, it seems to be 'business' pushing for it rather than IT... I think this is 'consumerisation in action' - what people now take for granted in their lives must ultimately be available at work.  BYOD is the 'norm' in real life, people just expect stuff to work on the device of their choice, the same expectation permeates their expectations at work.

A good blog I recently on the benefits of BYOD outweighing the costs makes the point that VDI is not a complete answer to all of IT's concerns about BYOD, there still needs to be a way of allowing people to properly deal with the data and handle data security and privacy issues.  Interestingly, the blog highlights that, using VDI often means that the data being used is on a server or a cloud somewhere and probably even more secure than on many different physical devices... or at least its possible to manage it as a whole rather than worry about the data being out on many physical devices.  This sort of speaks to the 'belief' by some IT shops that if its on an 'SOE device' its secure, if its not, it isn't.  I've always thought this argument was spurious at best ;)

Another article I came across recently, talks about the various technologies needed for VDI... including VMWare, Citrix, etc, etc.  Some of these technologies have been perceived as being 'too expensive' but I think that's just the initial outlay for new software and the TCO appears to more than pay for itself over a 3-5 year period, as highlighted in one of the earlier article I linked to.

As it stands, I think VDI certainly shows a lot of promise in helping some companies realise their vision for BYOD and to overcome some of the perceived (and real) issues.

One issue that does seem to 'stand in the way' is the way some companies are licensing their products and how this impacts BYOD and VDI, etc.  Microsoft has certainly been in the press with regard to this, as most of us use their software every day.  I know this has affected how internal IT departments have approached BYOD - as highlighted in  highlighted in this article about the risks of "violating Microsoft's licensing rules by letting end users access corporate email and applications on their personal devices" but, IMO, things appear to be changing and its important for businesses to review the situation periodically to see if things have changed and how this may facilitate doing more with BYOD.

I'd be happy to hear other people's feedback or latest news on this subject.  Please feel free to post back to the Blog :)

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Its a scientific experiment!

Anyone who has seen the Back to the Future movies, especially Back to the Future III, you may remember this quote:

[Doc Brown and Marty are hijacking a train] 

Doc: Reach! 
Engineer: Is this a holdup? 
Doc: It's a science experiment! 

*My* science experiment is to create a blog post and then use it in another blog by using an iFrame... wish me luck :)

Thursday, August 16, 2012

BYOD myths

I found this article about the myths of BYOD in Tech Republic this morning. I must say the 'myths' are on the mark based on what I hear and see being discussed online

They left off the one about the sugar crazed developer (coke and pizza) bringing their custom game machine in to their work to do development during the day ;) the one

I found most interesting was Myth 9 A friend of mine used to work for a very well known device management solution company and he sad business was on the cusp of booming Some organizations were getting the need to manage their devices most were coming around to understanding the need but had not done it yet... I think the flood gates are about to open

A few of my clients at work are facing this challenge right now They need to be able to allow customer and supplier devices access to their services rather than mandate a single device/ platform and how these devices will be managed is a real challenge

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

One for the web developers out there

invaluable command line tools for web developers

Wrong! Disagreement and dysfunction - a Blog by a friend

Good advice from a Blog by a friend of mine... 

Constantly remind yourselves of the things you agree on. Play them back. Write them down. Recognize that you will be working together to do these things going forward if you can get over the things you disagree on.

To see the rest read...  Wrong! Disagreement and dysfunction

Saturday, July 21, 2012

Adding RSS Reader capabilities to Chrome

Today I clicked on a link on Joe Workman's site and received a page of XML gibberish (see below).

XML gibberish :)

The problem I soon discovered is that Chrome does not natively have an RSS reader built in, as Apple's Safari does.
A few minutes later, I had Google'd an answer. See this article of some annoying 'features' of Chrome... one of them is the lack of RSS reader.

Its a quick fix, just follow the link to the Google Chrome store and install the RSS subscription add on and refresh the page of XML gibberish or re-try the link you originally clicked on. You should now see a web page (in may case Joe's blog) instead of the XML gibberish :) 

Joe's Blog

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Have iPad will travel, er, I mean develop stuff

At the moment I am on holidays overseas, in southern Germany, visiting the rellies (that's slang for relatives)

Before I left, I was agonizing about whether I should take my Macbook Pro laptop with me, or whether I should 'travel light' and just take my iPad

This blog is the first in a short series of blogs on my experience so far. A summary of the things I have been able to do with just my iPad, and the things I have not been able to do, yet, or have had to do differently

First, I think I should set out the goals I had, a list of the things I had in mind before starting out

1. Reading dev stuff
2. Fixing stuff on our web site
3. Doing web dev tutorial stuff
4. Keeping in touch socially
5. Playing games
6. Listening to audio books
7. Other stuff as needed

So how are things going?

1. Reading dev stuff

*Tick*, no real problems here

This was my most important 'must be able to do' and I already knew I would not have any problems with this one. Its probably the main reason I stopped agonizing and just brought my iPad.

I guess I should have also included the need to download new reading stuff as it is published - like all of the eMagazines I subscribe to. Just about all of them have come out with new issues while I have been away.

The main problem with downloading new stuff is the bandwidth required. It costs 25 Euro for 5 Gb, after that the speed is limited to something a lot lower than the 5-7 Mb/sec I have been getting on O2's 3G network.

I think if I was doing the last few weeks over I just would not download all of the new eMagazine releases, it really chews up the bandwidth quite quickly.

When we landed, I used a 15 Euro, 1 Gb voucher that I had from our last trip here and we went through it quite quickly.

I was not just the eMagazines but I also had to re-sync some audio books (see #6) and the speed was throttled after a few days.

Unfortunately, the stores here are not open Sunday so we had pretty slow Internet access on late Saturday and all through Sunday until I could get to the O2 store in Radolfzell. The pre-paid vouchers cant be bought online for some reason, at least not the 5Gb ones that I wanted.

2. Fixing stuff on our web site

I have not tried this one out yet, a project for later this week or on the weekend?

I bought myself an iPad App called iTeleport to be able to access my home Mac via a sort of VPN/Screen sharing program.

I'll be interested in seeing how it is over the 3G network speeds :)

3. Doing web dev tutorial stuff

Have not done too much of this yet but so far so good.

I bought myself an iPad App called Textastic and it makes it pretty easy to edit web content in HTML 5, CSS and use stuff like Javascript.

I also have an App which connects to a hosted Uniz environment called Linode. I have not tried this out yet but a friend pointed me to a great article on using Linode for iPad based development

See http://yieldthought.com/post/12239282034/swapped-my-macbook-for-an-ipad

4. Keeping in touch socially

*Tick* this one is pretty easy :)

5. Playing games

Playing my iPad games has been no problem, except while the speed was throttled (see #1)

As an experiment, I also bought myself a few new iPad games: Infinity Blade I and II and also Dungeon 2 HD.

Infinity Blade I has been fun, I have not started Infinity Blade II yet, Im just trying to level my gear a bit more and defeat the main baddy again before I move on.

Dungeon 2 HD is a sort of 'Diablo clone' according to the reviews and I bought it mainly because I am into Diablo III at the moment but cant play it while Im away.

More about Dungeon 2 HD and Infinity Blade II next week when I've had a chance to check them out

6. Listening to audio books

This has been a bit of a problem :-/

It seems that my Audible audio books library is 'out of sync' and I could no access audio books I was listening to before I left.

Not sure why but it seems that there is a known bug, solution? - re-sync (read 'download') affected audio books ... this lead to chewing up a lot of bandwidth for the first 1 Gb Internet pack I used when I got here (see #1)

Otherwise, listening is no problem but the lesson is have a backup way of listening to audio books just i case... maybe also load them onto my iPhone or a small iPad

7. Other stuff as needed

The iPad has been perfect for just surfing and email and photos and stuff.

I turned on Photostream to use while Im here, take photos with iPhone while Im out and about and they automatically sync with my iPad when its connected to WiFi.

The only problem, you guessed it, chewing up bandwidth again. Pity there isn't a sync via local WiFi or Bluetooth option when my iPhone and iPad and in range of each other.

As it is, it is all via the Apple iCloud and uses 2 x the size of the content in bandwidth, once up and once down. Lucky I only have 2 devices here using the same bandwidth :)

Well that's part I of this blog. Pretty pedestrian I know but I will try to report some of the more interesting stuff in my next blog.

Signing off, for now :D

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

The secret of living forever

I think I may have found the secret of living for ever...
The trick is to agree a very long list of things to do with God and then to do things one at a time
Let me take you through the logic... we start with the cartoon below... God put me on this Earth to accomplish a certain number of things... as an aside, this reminds me of that scene from Mash where Charles Emerson Winchester says that he always " I do one thing at a time, I do it very well, and then I move on" ... it seemed to work for Charles and Mash as this was one of the longest running TV series ever!
Then there is the magic of doing one thing at a time
The author claims that by focussing on one thing at a time you feel better, less stress, you are happier, etc
So, combining the two ideas, you can live virtually for ever if you start with a very, very long list (as agreed with God) and then do things one at a time... Simple!

I encourage you to try this, I know I will, I just hope I can negotiate a few more interesting things to do with God ;) ... then I can tell people "I'm on a mission from God" (could not resist that quote from Elroy Blues in The Blues Brothers)

Friday, March 30, 2012

NickyB - Add a splash of colour :)

Check out this great new fashion site

The fashion is young and fresh and is just beautiful!

Its Life Jim, but not as we know it :)

I found this in today's SMH technology section

THE Milky Way is home to tens of billions of rocky planets - including about 100 nearby - that could potentially harbour life, a new study has concluded.

Read more: http://www.smh.com.au/technology/sci-tech/possible-life-on-100-planets-study-says-20120328-1vytq.html#ixzz1qYhpthlx

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

HTML 5, CSS 3 and Javascript effects in Safari - a showcase

Check out this showcase on HTML 5, CSS 3 and Javascript effects in Safari.


Very nice! This really is the way of future web development...good bye Flash and the like :)

Installing JQuery in a RapidWeaver site

I found this article on installing jQuery in a RapidWeaver site.  It also seems to work just as well for non-RapidWeaver sites.... just ignore the comments re RapidWeaver and insert the suggest code in the header of the page of the site you happen to be working with