Altabel Group's Blog

Archive for October 2010

How should you categorize SharePoint? That seems to depend on whether you are talking about SharePoint 2007 or SharePoint 2010. It also depends on who you ask and what your needs are. For starters, the name SharePoint is a solid clue — this software product is first about sharing information and secondly about finding and collaborating on information at a specific place.

Microsoft has released several generations of SharePoint, but you only need to be concerned with SharePoint 2007, which has been around for roughly 3 years now, and SharePoint 2010, which was officially released in May 2010.

In SharePoint 2007, the six functional areas include:
– Collaboration;
– Portal;
– Search;
– Content management;
– Business forms;
– Business intelligence.
This release of the product included the first forays into both web content management and connectivity with back-end business systems. However, for the majority of users, SharePoint 2007 was really used as a glorified file sharing service, with a bit of collaboration added on.

SharePoint 2010 aims to change this — to really move towards Microsoft’s dream of SharePoint as an enterprise platform for many different information applications and information worker uses.

Microsoft has referred to SharePoint 2010 as a business collaboration platform, a kind of one stop shop for all your information worker needs.

The 2010 release offers a number of improvements over the 2007 product, including user interface improvements, greater social capabilities, deeper business intelligence, advanced records and document management and better integration with other systems.

Regardless, to understand what SharePoint really is, you need to understand the highly ambitious agenda Microsoft has for the product. It is this: To become the single point for all information aggregation, search and collaboration in your organization.

Best Regards,
Kristina Kozlova
Altabel Group
http://www.altabel.com

The computer industry is one that confuses most people, even those within it. The buzzword today is “Cloud Computing”. But what is it? More importantly, why do I care, and why should you care?

I am sure that most people will say – “The PC that I bought at my local shop made no mention of the cloud; it must be an app on service”.

Not so!

Most people are already users of the cloud. Do you have a Yahoo, Gmail, or MSN email address? If yes then you are a cloud user. Your data is not on your local computer, it is stored potentially 1000’s of miles away.

The same goes for the social media sites, Facebook, Myspace, Twitter, and the other eight gazillion places operating in the same way. Your comments, pictures, ideas, are not living inside that box on the floor beside your monitor; they are on a computer far, far away.

To be honest, the Cloud seemed scary when I first heard about it. Who would trust information to be stored in a place that is hard to define? A place that you could not reach out and touch?

But, think about it for a moment. Your local hard drive is the same in a way. Sure, you can take a screwdriver and unhook it. You can hold it in your hands, but can you really touch the data? Can you hold that picture of your child in your hands? The answer is a resounding NO!

You can hold the physical device, but so what? What happens if that physical device gets damaged? The sensible answer would be I would reload my data from my back up system. It sounds great, but, how many of you actually back up your data?

The cloud makes good sense. Your data is backed up, it is safe. Sure, if you lose your Internet connection it will be inaccessible until service is restored. I class that as a minor irritant that I can live with, and when it happens I can always continue to create at the local level.

The cloud as a data repository makes great sense to me.It unfetters me from my computer, no matter which part of the world I am in, and I can access the information.

Can the cloud do more? Yes it can ;)

Kristina Kozlova
Altabel Group
http://www.altabel.com

Will small, powerful, connected-to-everything devices become the personal computer?

To some extent, and to certain audiences, it already is. Currently we are witnessing the new operating system wars breaking out on the mobile platforms, between Blackberry, Google Android, Iphone, Microsoft, and Nokia Symbian. This is because the greatest volume in terms of devices is in the mobile space. This is caused by the fact a great number of devices is in the mobile space.

For the younger generation today, time on mobile platforms, whether texting, “facebooking”, searching, or interacting with the thousands of other apps that connects them to people, content, or anything else of interest is often exceeding the time they spend on their notebook or desktop PC. Mobile operating systems are starting to offer the same capabilities for application developers that could only be done before on PC OSs. Of course, the processor power keeps improving as well. The amount of ingenuity and creativity that software developers are putting into mobile applications are exceeding what is being done for PC platforms.

With currently available technologies it is entirely possible for a small handheld device such as a Smartphone to be able to have additional features such as:
1. Processors, RAM & storage as powerful as a PC;
2. Projection monitor (where you can use any flat surface to work as your monitor of any reasonable size that you need at the moment);
3. Projection Keyboard (instead of a large keypad, the keyboard is projected on to any surface and you just have to type there).

The only constraint for such a device I guess would be a portable power source.

BR,
Kristina Kozlova
Altabel Group
http://www.altabel.com

Choosing among Chrome, Firefox, Internet Explorer, Opera, and Safari is not simple. All are perfectly good choices, but one may be slightly better for certain users than others. Bellow you may find the most interesting thoughts on this topic from LI members.

«The perfect balance of features & speed is Opera. Resource footprint & speed are my chief priorities when browsing. I like Firefox and am a fan of open source software, but FF tends to chew up more system resources than any other browser I have ever used. IE I use almost exclusively for interacting with the MS site. I find it slower to open and slow to load pages. Chrome is good, nearly as fast as Opera in my experience, but I dislike the interface. I cannot speak to Safari. I remember using it and not being blown away by its speed. »
Ed Han

«It’s a close race between Firefox and Chrome. I love many of the plug-in that make FF so easy to use, especially the S3 plug-in for my Amazon account. That just makes the upload super simple. However, sometimes it’s a little “clunky”. I use Chrome for my primary browser. In the last 90 days it began to crash more frequently than before. I only use IE if the site will not support anything else (and there still are some). »
Dan Scott
Lawyer, Coach, Entrepreneur

«If you start with features or flexibility, IE is out! There is not much to customizing it unless you can do some application development; IE7Pro is an example it adds features but how many of us can say we could have wrote that program compared to writing an add-on/extension/widget for the other browsers? Firefox as far as feature or flexibility goes would top the chart; you cannot create your own build with the other browsers like you can with Firefox. Examples of alternative Firefox’s is Flock, Camino, Fennec, etc. Not to mention that the engine under neath it all can be used for other things. I would say Chrome, Opera and Safari are relatively tied regarding features and flexibility; the most you can do with them is create add-ons. Firefox overall has the balance of features, speed, innovations, and flexibility. Some may say it is a resource hog, but so are the others once you start tacking on add-ons/extensions/widgets. The add-ons are what bog them down. There is nothing you cannot do with Firefox. What would make Firefox even more superior is the ability to enable/disable without restarting like Chrome and Safari. Firefox well more specifically the engine behind it all can be formed to do numerous things. If you where my mom and dad well into their 80’s I would tell you to use Chrome (it’s just plain simple). If you are like me and want full control over your bookmarks (sorting, duplication, tagging, suggestions, etc), advertising, custom page editing, leaving post it notes on sites you go to, and integration then go with Firefox. »
Richard Lloyd
Freelance IT Consultant

«I’m a Chrome user. I used to use Firefox, but starting with 3.5 it became quite the resource hog. There is no reason for a web browser to use 100MB+ of memory with no add-ons and sitting on about: blank. For the add-ons that I used in Firefox, I’ve found replacements in Chrome. I like that my toolbars can stay active (processing data) but out of the way in Chrome. I never found a way to do that in Firefox. I used Opera for a short while until I learned that my data was being bounced through their servers. If I want data bounced anywhere like that, I’ll use TOR. I never really liked the interface in Safari. Seemed clumsy to me, like most things Apple. The only thing that I use IE for any more is Microsoft.com sites and Netflix instant (stupid unnecessary DRM). If your website requires me to use IE (or even Firefox) to use and locks me out otherwise, I leave. »
Brian Altenhofel
Web developer

And which of the leading browsers is the perfect balance of features, speed, innovation, and flexibility for you?

BR,
Kristina Kozlova
Altabel Group
http://www.altabel.com

Google needs to think long and hard about how to make upgrades go more smoothly in the future. The rollout of the latest version of Android 2.2, also called Froyo, has certainly not gone according to plan… Bellow you may find some interesting LI members’ quotes.

«There are issues, but the question is how Google to fix them?
1. Older phones do not have the memory to run Froyo plus the newer Android apps. It would be a waste of time upgrading them to Froyo (my Vodafone UK HTC Magic for example simply is not up to the job)
2. Manufacturers make large mods and add their own proprietary apps. Dell, HTC, Samsung etc then need to port their mods or apps to the new Android OS – it’s not a trivial task so the work to differentiate each product does delay future upgrades.
3. Mobile operators then have to roll out the upgrade, adding their own apps and tweaks. The mobile operators really need to get their act together – I believe they differentiate both positively and negatively based upon how quickly or slowly they do the upgrades.
Gingerbread, the next release of Android should resolve some of these issues, as the user interface is significantly improved and therefore there is less tweaking to be done by handset manufacturers.
In the meantime, I am sticking with my unlocked Google Nexus One, because I know it will be the first to be upgraded, and I will probably buy my handsets direct rather than contract with the operators in future, to ensure I get the fastest upgrades possible.»
Brian Merritt
VP Sales Solutions & Operations [LION] at Interoute

«Lots of variables need to take care before a cell company can roll out an OS. They are still new at this and it will get better.»
Paul Kubera
ORLive, Inc.

«There’s a number of issues with the 2.2 rollout :
– Not all carriers keep track of the changes in the latest Android version and, as such, are not ready to port the phones they’re currently selling to the latest Android version
– The phones that were sold in the past are usually not tested at all by the carriers. This means they are either not ported at all, or will be ported a lot later
– A lot of apps are not tested on Android 2.2. This is not the carriers’ fault, but the app developers’ fault. The problem here is mostly that a lot of developers have since abandoned their project. Google is working hard to solve the app compatibility issues, trying to ensure that apps will work on future updates to the operating system.
In general, Froyo is the best Android version so far, bringing higher stability, much better performance and more features to the mobile market. One thing that this version fails at is openness: it makes it very hard to ‘root’ (unlock) the device which, although providers like it, is limiting developer’s abilities to switch between versions and tinker with the settings and ‘special’ features of the operating system.»
Wim Godden
Managing Director at Cu.be Solutions

«In the “old days” technology was judged by experts – IT specialists, geeks, etc. Today technology is being judged first by consumers and businesses are rushing to catch up. Ordinary people just want a device that works – without unlocking and other geeky stuff. I’ve had people say they’ve heard Android is good so they want “the” Android phone. They are surprised when I tell them how many there are and what some of the choices are. Their eyes glaze over when I even mention Android is an Operating System- like Windows. Almost any device works if a person is willing to tinker with it. But that is not what millions of people want. In particular I think most people are tired of the “it’s time to upgrade again” approach. Upgrades are necessary but the companies like Apple who make the process almost painless are leading the way.
Of course the Android numbers are impressive but numbers don’t tell the whole story. With dozens of companies making very similar products, will they be forced to race to the bottom in pricing like PC manufacturers have done. If so, there will be precious few resources for a company to manage design, production, marketing, development, compatibility testing and upgrading for their products.»
Gary Braley
Public speaker and author on technology topics for non-technical audiences

Have any thoughts?

BR,
Kristina Kozlova
http://www.altabel.com


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