Microsoft. Missing the point.

ZDNet’s Mary-Jo Foley has uncovered internal documents detailing Microsoft’s master plan to address the success of the iPad.  But the plan reveals a very myopic view of the iPad and what consumer’s want.

In the slide show presentation, Microsoft address some legitimate concerns that enterprise end users (or at least Enterprise IT staffs) may have about deploying the iPad in a corporate environment (such as encryption, compliance, printing, etc.), but severely underestimates the value of the pure functionality of these devices.  In fact, despite the shortcomings that Microsoft has identified, Apple CFO Peter Oppenheimer has stated that 80% of the Fortune 500 companies are now either actively using the iPad in their environments or running a pilot program with the iPad.

But more glaringly obvious is the entire lack of a Windows slate device running a mobile OS.  Certainly there are devices running Windows 7 tablet version, but that is not the same as a tablet running a mobile OS.  From the information on the slides, it is clear that Microsoft is putting it’s eggs in the Windows 7 basket and hoping that OEMs will focus on building and marketing slate devices running Windows 7.  This is clearly not the same as an iPad which is focused primarily on media consumption.

One laughable point in the PowerPoint slides was Microsoft  saying that one of the benefits of a Windows 7 tablet was that it had full support for Microsoft Office products.  While that is true, it is also true that Microsoft surely hasn’t been tripping over themselves making Microsoft Office Apps for the iPad, either.  With this PowerPoint as the notable exception, Microsoft has barely acknowledged the iPad even exists.

I am saddened by this PowerPoint.  I think if Microsoft were to come out with a decent response to the iPad, it would be good for everyone.  And it’s not that they don’t have the brain trust to do it; they can.  The Xbox and the Kinect were huge responses into the gaming platform arena, where they had no presence before.  No, I feel it is lack of leadership and vision that is holding them back.

Perhaps Bill Gates need to pull a Steve Jobs and come to Microsoft’s rescue.

2011 Resolutons

Seeing as how it is almost a month into 2011 I have finally settled on this year’s resolutions.  I normally start considering resolutions about noon on January 1st.  I try to have the resolutions cover mind, body, and spirit.  This year my resolutions are as follows:

  1. Lose 1 lb a week
  2. Exercise 4 times a week (up from the average of three times a week last year.)
  3. Mediate daily
  4. More regular daily devotionals
  5. Not read comments on news stories and forums.
  6. Try eating something different each time I visit a restaurant.
  7. Post to this blog at least twice a week.
  8. Practice guitar three times a week
  9. Read 24 books this year.
  10.  Reduce non-secured debt by 1/3

I have a few more family related ones, but to post them here would not be appropriate to my family.

Anyway, there they are…officially posted.

Hey…30 seconds into it and I haven’t broken any resolutions yet.  Yea me!!!

Galaxy Tab fall down and go boom. Big time.

Okay, I’m a little torqued here.

My Galaxy Tab, just a little over a week after I got it, has a shattered screen.  How did the screen shatter?  It fell and landed right on it’s face.  It fell from a height of about two feet.   It landed flat (as far as I know) and hit nothing on the way down.



So to calculate out how much force a fall like this entails, here are my calculations:

Mass = .38 Kg

Height = .6 m

g=9.8 m/s^2

PE=mgh=.38*.6*9.8 = 2.2344 Joules

Assuming the Galaxy Tab bounced .05 meters (I did not see the bounce, but it is a fair assumption as one would not describe the Galaxy Tab as “bouncy.”)

F=KE/d=2.2344/.05 = 44.687 N

The total surface area of the Galaxy Tab is .19 m x .12 m = 0.02277 m^2

(Alternatively 7.48 in X 4.72 in = 35.3056 in^2)

Equals 44.687/0.0227 = 1968.59 N/m^2

Converting that into Imperial standard:

1968.59 N/m^2 = 0.2855 pounds per square inch.

So roughly less than 1/3 PSI on the surface of screen to shatter it.

Really Samsung?

I understand that they used the Gorilla Glass to make it more scratch resistant, and I’m not an engineer, but I think the good folks at Samsung could have incorporated some shock absorbing system in light of how brittle the material they used to make the screen is.


Apparently I’m not alone, but others we’re a little more lucky than me.

Android App Review: Scanner Radio and Scanner Radio Pro

Do you like watching “Cops”?  I have to admit it is one of my personal guilty pleasures.  I think that’s why I like listening to police scanners.

Scanner Radio and Scanner Radio Pro are apps  for Android by Gordon Edwards.  The app allow you to listen to over 2,300 live audio streams of police and fire department communications as well as some other government agencies (and railroad, and weather, etc.) radio streams where available.  The scanner has a “favorites” to keep track of the most commonly listened to streams and can leverage the GPS in android device to quickly find the closest radio streams near you.

The app also has the top 50 scanners so there is always something interesting to hear. (My personal recommendations are Chicago and L.A. Police departments.  There is some crazy stuff going on in those towns all the time.)

There is also a “New Additions” section where the latest scanners are added.  Right now as I write this, I am listening to a scanner in Queensland Australia where they are having major flooding.  There are scanners from about 25 countries available, but just to list a few there is Germany, Japan, Canada, United Kingdom, and Chile.

Scanner Radio can also be configured to notify you when a large amount of people start listening to a stream, which can be indicative that something big is going on. 

The Pro version is ad-free and allows you to archived audio streams but a subscription to is required.  The Pro version is $2.99.


It’s Official!!! iPhone comes to Verizon

Well, I admit it.  I thought it was a unicorn and I was wrong.  The iPhone has officially come to Verizon.  The iPhone will be available on the Verizon network on February 10th and it will cost $199 for the 16 GB version and $299 for the 32 GB version.  Pre-orders will be available on February 3rd for existing Verizon customers.


verizonOne interesting thing is that AT&T iPhoneswill not work on the Verizon network.  (Verizon uses a CDMA network and AT&T uses GSM network.  Apple had to redesign the iPhone to include to orrect hardware to work on a CDMA network and test it to be able to work on the Verizon network.) From the Verizon site “in order to take advantage of the nation’s largest and most reliable wireless network, you will need an iPhone 4 that works on the Verizon Wireless network.”

(Side note:  Who else uses CDMA?  Well, just about everyone.  U.S. Cellular, Verizon, Sprint Nextel, AllTel, etc.  The two major carriers that use GSM are AT&T and T-Mobile.  By far, however, CDMA is the most common data technology.  I wonder how long before jail broken iPhones are on Sprint’s network?  And can a U.S. Cellular iPhone be that far behind?)

Another thing is that the VerizoniPhone will have the mobile hotspot app that will allow up to five users to use the iPhone as a portable wifihotspot.  Given AT&T’s stance of wanting to minimize the end user’s use of data, this is quite a refreshing stance.  The VerizoniPhone will “have the 3G Mobile Hotspot app pre-installed and it will also have other popular apps available in the market such as VZ Navigator, and V CAST Media Manager.”

The only questionable thing now is that Verizon has, in the past with many phones and platforms, hobbled them to suit their own needs at the expense of the end user.  Will Apple allow Verizon to do this to the iPhone?




It will be interesting to watch how this will effect android sales.  While many source seem to point to the contrary, Verizon had reported weaker than expected android sales .  Other rumbling and grumblings in the tech industry point to the frustration of carriers modifying the open android platform and locking it down to prevent end-user modification.  While the techy-geek love affair with the android doesn’t seem to be over, the general public (who might not share that love) might gladly hop over to the iPhone platform.

I’m guessing that is what Verizon is betting on.

Well played, Verizon, well played.

Galaxy Tab for Enterprise? I don’t think so.

This past week I had the privilege of getting a Samsung Galaxy Tab to evaluate for work as an alternative to the Apple iPad.  We have only recently been using the iPad for some of the sales force and it’s been working pretty well.  The two drawbacks that the iPad has for us is that the buggy way it navigates in a Windows domain environment and that the connectivity is dependent on AT&T and their 3G network (Click here to see the latest bunch of AT&T laughable claims).

So I got a Galaxy Tab through U.S. Cellular and to anyone familiar with either an Android phone or an iPad, the basic transition takes all of about five minutes.  I quite literally had mail, contacts, and calendar synchronized with my exchange server within three minutes of opening the box.  So for ease of use, the Galaxy Tab gets high marks.

Before going any further with my short review, I want to say that as one who has drunk the Apple kool-aid, my perspective was certainly a bit jaded from the onset, but I also sincerely wanted to like the Galaxy Tab and hoped it would be a good substitute for the iPad.

The Galaxy Tab’s smaller size still lends itself well to viewing documents and video but is more compact than the iPad and lighter so it travels a bit better.  And the variety of carriers the Tab can use is a huge bonus, especially for a company that is geographically dispersed and has a number of carriers they use.  The Tab I got was normally $599 but the price dropped to $199 through U.S. Cellular with a two-year data contract (clocking in at about $50/month.)  The data contact is capped at 5 GB, which may or may not seem limiting.  In my case, it seems more than enough.  After a week, I have only used 0.2% of the 5 GB.

The Galaxy Tab also allows the use of widgets on the desktop and is far more customizable that the iPad.  The U.S. Cellular version also comes with an app/widget called “Daily Briefing” that allow you to quickly see the weather, news, stock market and schedule in one simple page.  It would be even better if they allowed this widget to be customized a bit more.

The U.S. Cellular version also allows the Galaxy Tab to be used as mobile wi-fi hotspot.  In my limited test, this seemed to work very well with good throughput speeds and easy configuration.

On the down side, the Android platform seems less stable that Apple’s IOS.  The past week I have experienced four complete crashes (with data loss) of the Galaxy Tab and several application crashes.  While app crashes do occur, and with some frequency, on the iPad I don’t think I’ve ever had the entire device crash on me.

Another black mark against the Galaxy Tab is the lack of a method to connect to a Cisco VPN without rooting the OS.  I understand this omission may not be the fault of Google and/or Android, but given the market saturation of the Cisco VPN solution, this seems like a pretty big omission.

A minor issue is the power button, which seems to be at the exact proper location to be accidentally pressed and the Galaxy Tab put to sleep at exactly the wrong moment.  It is also right above the volume switch adding to the frequency that the switch is accidentally pressed.  Quite frustrating, indeed.

The final strike against the Galaxy Tab and the Android platform is that the application that can be downloaded can contain unsafe code.  While I would agree as a consumer that responsibility of knowing what an application does before installing it falls to the user, my position as a network administrator prevents me from recommending and/or implementing the android platform company-wide.  To do so would be equivalent to handing network security over to the end user, which is unacceptable.

As much as I would like to implement both the Galaxy Tab and android phones in my enterprise environment, the risks are to great.