I’m Electing Meraki to President of Topology!

Happy Election day everyone!  (For my US readers at least!)

Today I wanted to bring to light something new from Cisco’s Meraki switch products.  I know I’ve been a little lax lately in getting more of this information to you, but I’m doing my best to get back on the wagon.🙂

So…your network topology is planned out and kept where?  A Vizio document?  Excel sheet saying what is where?  I have to say, 1996 called and they want their technology planning back.🙂  Why?  Well Meraki’s gear (MS switches, MX security, and MR wireless) all have access to their new Topology feature.  (Click that link for something LONG from Meraki about it.)  What this comes down to is that mapping your network environment is something that either involves expensive software, or a diagramming savant who can track everything.  Do you have the time to do this?  Heck no!  Take a look at this screenshot from their built in tool…


Pretty sweet eh?  Now this does map more than just Meraki networking units, it will see what else is out there and report back to you on them…but in regards to the Meraki product, you can see reports on them from the Cloud tool right in the Topology map.

Say it with me…Ooooooooooooooooooooooooooooh!

Now seriously, this is useful for you and would make a difference.  Get ONE Meraki switch, access point or Security appliance and CHECK IT OUT!  It is live as of October 31 on their Cloud Management tool!🙂


Oh yes and remember..


Don’t Forget to Vote Today!

Microsoft’s Sway Moseys In…



If you haven’t had the chance to look at this very interesting video, I think Microsoft might be on to something. Sway looks to be an interactive program designed to make presentations. However, it uses predictive software and knowledge of what device you’re on to show these presentations…and helping you build them. The video below shows some of the design work, and it doesn’t look complex.  While I’m a little skeptical, this excited me enough to interrupt my day to post this.

Check out this video…and let me know what you think.🙂

Office 365 vs. Google for Work: Round 3…FIGHT!

Unless you work in the tech industry, or in IT, you may not always understand these kinds of techno-pugilist-endeavors.  Nothing wrong with that.  Most consumers think of the world as Apple vs. PC…when in the business world that isn’t really so.  Apple makes consumer hardware that some folks use at work, while the App software created for that hardware really drives everything.  In this case of Microsoft vs. Google…they provide the Apps that drive our working lives.  FAR more important than simple hardware, mind you.

Simpler than hardware?  You bet your braying donkey it is.  These applications transcend simple operating systems and hardware, thanks to both Google and Microsoft understanding that early on.  The hearts and minds are not won based on shiny doo-dads, but in the applications you use every day.

Like many of you, I use Microsoft and Google pretty much all day most days for different things.  Gmail and Hangouts at home for things, and Microsoft for nearly everything at work.  That seems to be the norm across the board…but Google wants in on this and has been making inroads into the space over the past couple years.  Microsoft being the juggernaut they are was slow to start, and Office 365 in 2011 is NOT the Office 365 of 2014.  Google wholeheartedly won rounds one and two of this fight, but now, to quote Woody Leonhard at Inforworld… (This is just a great fair review from earlier this year.)

“Office 365 has turned into an 800-pound gorilla, with loads of new features and new options. Back then (2011), Office 365 seemed like a cobbled-together mélange of Office 2000 and Exchange Server, with a few goodies tacked on the side. Now it’s richer, smoother, more tightly integrated…” 

Where I think you win if you buy into either product is getting the heck off of your own Exchange server.  Stop managing your own email…it wastes your time and keeps you and the rest of your IT department from managing better projects.  Microsoft has a 99.9% email uptime that’s financially guaranteed.  Google has it exactly the same, but I’ve heard from clients/friends nightmares about their lack of customer service.  (Whereas Microsoft is utilizing local people in the US for all of their CS, and it’s never a long wait.)

Now, I’m not going to break down the features of each product.  Chances are if you’re reading this, you already know what you are looking for and need a nudge in the right direction.  So here’s my analysis of each product:

Google Apps for Work:

This is for organizations that are not happy with Microsoft, and do not mind a leaner office-type product.  For the heavier users of Office in your organization, you will likely still need some MS Office purchases, because Google Sheets isn’t as indepth of a product. (I find their pivot tables to be a real pain, to the point where I just tell folks, they can’t do them right.)  Be advised the Google Apps for work is just like a regular Google account, only you’re paying for unlimited storage ($120 a year/per person/min 5 people) and to be able to manage those accounts under your own umbrella…otherwise there’s zero difference between paying for accounts and using them for free.  Hangouts is an amazing tool, and far surpasses the hefty Lync in being a collaboration tool.  Prices are similar, but in reality you get less for your dollar spent than you do on their competitor.

Final Analysis: As I was told by a Google employee, “Microsoft doesn’t innovate, but we do.”  I find statements like that to be haughty, and empty.  Good for you that you made something useful for some, but it’s not replacing what the standard has been unless you’re changing the game.  You’ve just made a new way to play the game, not change it entirely.  This is software for businesses that have 1-100 users tops, or again for those who do not like Microsoft.  (Oh yes, and remember to turn off email scanning by Google, so they’re not scanning your company email.  Supposedly this comes turned off, but I’ve been told otherwise.)

Office 365 (2014)

If your users will not be affected by a move to Google Apps, and you’re happy with Microsoft, then 365 is the product for you.  Personally I’m a little annoyed with Lync, but I think that comes more from a lack of training on the product, than the product itself…and it trails behind Google.  To compete against Google’s “we have two skus and that’s all, and you’ll have to fit” methodology, Microsoft has a program that is specific to your needs.  From Office 365 Essentials (basics for mobility, but still more robust than Google Apps), to full on Pro versions of the software that can be downloaded and run on multiple machines. The downside is that Office 365 is the explicit opposite of simple. The controls are deeper and more intricate than Google, but provide a lot of value if you’re ready to jump into the deep, choppy end of the pool.

Final Analysis: Microsoft isn’t going to be left behind in the war for the Apps you use at work.  They’ve been in the game longer than some of my co-workers have been alive, and still know it well.  Office 365 has come a long way in the last 3 years, and now outshines Google Apps in many ways.  Get off of Exchange TODAY.🙂 Microsoft might not be the Innovator that Google claims to be, but they did take their time getting there and have a better overall product in many ways.  Personally, Getting it Right trumps innovation any day.

Lastly, I was just reminded by a coworker to address the fears about “cloud” computing.  I think many of us now understand that Cloud computing is the wave of the future, and is going to save your organization a lot of money should you choose to embrace it.  From allowing employees to collaborate on documents without having to email them, to having access to documents wherever you have internet, to inherent Disaster Recovery…using a Cloud to store your users’ data is very cost effective.  If you aren’t sure still, talk to me…I’ll introduce you to experts from any manufacturer we work with who’ll show you how safe it actually is…clients who have moved to Cloud Disaster Recovery and are excited about it.

Want a demo of Office 365?

Want a demo of Google Apps for Work?  Here are some videos that’ll show you.🙂


Who’s the winner?  Me, I’ll pick Microsoft to win overall if they keep going the way they’re going.  Minimalist settings aren’t for all offices.


Have a great day!


Edit:  Update….for those of you who didn’t hear… Microsoft is offering unlimited Cloud Storage to all Office 365 customers.  o.O




The Dropbox Hack and Your Account IS In Danger

Howdy folks!

Yup the new is correct, Dropbox was hacked the other day, and your information is in danger.  Normally I’d run around flailing my arms looking like Robbie the Robot from Lost in Space…but this has been going on for so long, that if you haven’t learned to change your password regularly, you almost DESERVE to lose your information.

Don’t get me wrong, even I’ve fallen prey to not updating information regularly…but if you’re using a Cloud option like Dropbox that’s high profile…you should expect that hack and change your password regularly.  There’s a reason that admins make their co-workers change their passwords every 30/60/90 days…and everyone needs to follow suit.

So from my friends over at CNet, here’s instructions on how to change your password on DropBox.  DropBox has TWO STEP AUTHENTICATION…both the folks at CNET and I suggest that you enable it.  One more way to not lose information…please use it.🙂


How to roll back your iPhone from 8.1 and not blow it up.


I hear things often like, “Leader hates Apple products” or “you’re a Microsoft elitist” or “you can’t call the iPhone a watch!  What does that mean?”…I’ll get into that later.  But, since some of my readers do use iPhones, and have users that worsh…use them…I wanted to provide this information I came across today about the newest iOS 8.1 software and how to get it off your new iPhone 6, because it’s bricking them.

(By the way…in reference to “bendgate“…if anyone puts their super thin smartphone in their pocket…front or back…without a case, and are surprised it bends…they should return it for a flip phone.)


Not often does a company issue software that bricks their phones, but Apple is the one who does it often.  Some would say this is really a problem because so many people have iPhones…but it’s not just that.  It’s so many people have iPhones that shouldn’t have a smartphone.  It’s like having a fancy car/lawnmower/watch that you don’t know how to fix when it goes wrong.  Because of that we see things like the “Wave Technology” issues with people microwaving their iPhones to charge them.  We just shake our heads and wonder what’s wrong with people…when it’s average people who are super-gullible and believe everything they see, coupled with ignorance of how technology/machinery works.  If you know someone who doesn’t understand how an iPhone works or a Microwave works…please read these links for a starter course.

wave melting

Now…for those if you having issues with iOS 8.0.1 bricking your brand-spanking new iPhone 6 unit…here’s a solution from the folks at CNet.

Apple issued an update on Wednesday to fix various bugs in its iOS operating system. The iOS 8.0.1 update, however, appeared to do more harm than good for some users. Numerous iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus owners complained that they were no longer able to make calls, send texts, or use Touch ID after updating their devices. Apple has since pulled the iOS 8.0.1 update from its servers. If you have already updated your device, here’s how you can roll it back to iOS 8By downloading the final build of iOS 8 as it was released as an IPSW file, you can restore your iPhone to the latest stable version. To begin downloading the IPSW file, head over to this site and select your device from the drop-down menu. This is an official copy from Apple that we are being pointed to from a third-party site. We used this method to restore our own iPhone and can confirm it works. The download may take a few minutes depending on your Internet connection. To download the iOS 8 IPSW file directly, click on the name of your device below. Note that this will automatically begin downloading the file to your computer.
iPhone 6
iPhone 6 Plus
Once the file has been downloaded, connect your iPhone 6 or iPhone 6 Plus to your computer and open iTunes. Select under the backup options “this computer,” then hit “Back Up Now.” This takes a full snapshot of your contacts, email, apps and settings, and stores it on your computer. On iTunes in Windows, hold down the Shift key and click the Restore option. Next, select your iPhone’s IPSW file and follow the prompts. Those of you on OS X, hold down Alt key and click the Restore option in iTunes. Next, select your iPhone’s IPSW file and follow the prompts.  Wait for the IPSW to unload on your iPhone. You may need to disable “Find my iPhone” first, found in your iCloud settings. Once your iPhone has been restored to iOS 8, your iPhone will be wiped clean. All you have to do now is restore the backup from iTunes.  Click “Restore backup,” select the latest backup you just performed, and wait for the process to complete.

Simple right?🙂

Who wants to win stuff and get free stuff???


Yup no lie…I’ve got ways for you to win prizes and get some free stuff.  Not from me, but I don’t mind being a facilitator…so when you win something you’ll think of me right?🙂

First…Sophos.  This company has come a long way since I came into this industry.  They have a new Sophos Cloud product that has some super fast deployment (no server to install) and like one of my favorites, Meraki, their management console is in Sophos’ Cloud.  One policy – multiple platforms, mobile management and device control…and it’s easy to use.  Watch this video here and download the free trial.  It’s worth a look.🙂  Also PCM is doing a webcast about Sophos tomorrow September 25…yea I just found out about this today.   Sign up if you have time!

SolarWinds…one of my favorite IT Helper companies.  These folks offer all kinds of basic free tools, and some amazing advanced ones for network, security, optimization and databasing (that we offer for sale).  But here’s something you can win from them…a new Honda Ruckus ($2770 value) and an NPM V11 license ($2675 value).  Just download their Network Performance Monitor v11 software trial.  Build your quality experience dashboard, send them a snapshot and potentially win.   Easy.  If you don’t win and like the software, we can talk about how you can get the full version!🙂

See?  Two quality things…and all you had to do was read this for less than 2 minutes.  Win!🙂


Top 5 reasons you need to get Adobe’s Creative Cloud for Teams!


cloud-computing-saasI think we all remember my many battles with Adobe over the years.  Too many SKUs, not enough customer service, too many products that nobody understands…to name a few.  But those are my issues.🙂  Today I wanted to talk to you about the top 5 reasons you need to be using Adobe’s Creative Cloud for Teams.  Everyone remember talking about Software As A Service?  Well this is the starter set.🙂


Adobe CCT is the evolution of the Software Market.  Simple as that.  Everything is moving to Software As A Service, and these folks just forced the entire gamut of creative users and companies to join that movement.  Creative Cloud for Teams is a package for a user.  The 5 items below will explain more.

running from CS6 to CCT

1) Well you HAVE to get it – Defeatist?  Not really.  Staying relevant in the tech world is something that has to happen.  If you were still using the same computer you were in 2004, could you do what you can do with your new i7?  Yea, I don’t think so.  This does depend on what you are doing with the CS products, but if you’re using an up to date system, then you’ll want to use up to date software.  Purchasing this for your design team will help to keep them up to date & viable (see #2), and using products that pay for themselves quickly.  Is this for the average user?  They do have discounted version for students…so go take a class already!🙂


2) Collaboration – Oh my yes.  This word matters a lot now.  Through the cloud setup that Adobe creates with CCT, collaboration on documents/projects has just become exponentially easier.  You have your shared workspace where your team who may not even be in the same city or continent can still reach out and keep projects up to date.  Thinking about how this went when I worked in publishing 9 years ago makes me shudder in fear.  This is also worth the price of admission.


3) More for your Money – CS has always been expensive…but Adobe is at the top of the market, and paying for quality stuff is always a good idea.  However…if you think you just need Illustrator and Photoshop, you’re sorely wrong.  You see, those two pieces of software…you can rent EACH of them from Adobe for $350 a year.  So for $700/year you can have those two…or for $799/year, you can have every single piece of software Adobe has in the CCT offering.  Last year at this time, Master Collection was $1800 and didn’t cover everything…so where’s the deal now?  Not only that but with CCT, your software doesn’t have to be updated…it’s done automatically at the source.  Again, more value than you’d think.🙂


4) Budgeting – I am willing to believe that EVERYONE who has worked in IT has been told before “there’s no budget for updating this year”…not just for Adobe, but for most everything.  Well, again, by paying a yearly “subscription” for the product, you’re always up to date, and you can build it into your yearly budget.  If there’s one thing that Accounts Payable likes, is clockwork purchases that happen once a year.  So with the yearly update baked into this with the subscription, you’re assured to always be up to date with Adobe.


5) Living in the Past WILL Cripple Your Company –  Some will say that I’m being confrontational about this, and I know I am.  I see this every day in companies that need to come forward into 2014 (or at least 2010) because they are unwilling to spend to keep their Information Systems current.  From Networks, to Clients on the desks, to modern Printers, Virtualization, dynamic data storage and the like.  There’s a place to make sure that your company will be at the forefront of design…access to the newest tools creates employees who feel empowered, relevant and useful, which makes them more productive.

There you have it…my opinions, but really, you should be looking at this right now.

Hope you have an awesome weekend!