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

http://www.crn.com/news/cloud/300074595/microsoft-gives-unlimited-cloud-storage-to-office-365-customers.htm

 

 

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

bricked

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.)

bendgate

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? 🙂

Ergotron Workfit – A Personal Review

Howdy, my millions of fans!  (Actually I think it’s hundreds, but I can dream right?)

I’ve been quiet as of late because Summer has been really busy for me work-wise, and I was on vacation for half of August.  (If you like games and have never been to Gencon, you need to go)  But during July I won a contest with Ergotron, one of our suppliers and a great partner of mine here at PCM.  They specialize in providing ergonomically focused accessories for displays and workstations that help us be healthier at work.

At first I was skeptical of what something like the Workfit could do.  At the time I had 3 screens on my desk and did find myself hunching into them every day.  My back was miserable, and I started seeing a Chiropractor in June.  While he helped, he did tell me that I needed to stand half of my workday and stop sitting so much.  Along came the Workfit prize, and I was excited to give it a try.  I came from a Retail Management background where I stood for 90% of my day in a retail store…and since I was healthier when I worked that way, I thought it wouldn’t hurt much to give this a try.

So, I was told that it was all given the OK through Human Resources, and the prize arrived the week before I was to leave on vacation in August.  Ergotron, in their awesomeness, opted to install it for me while I was out of the office…so after 2 weeks I came back to find it installed.

workfit day 1

Pretty cool isn’t it? 🙂  When I lift it up off of the desk from where it sits, it is level with my eyes, and I can stand “at ease” and work away.  Resting my hands on it doesn’t force it down, and it is rather stable.  So the first day I think I stood for 6 hours…I was so excited.  Later that same day, I discovered that I could sit with my chair at the right height for my stature, and with the unit on the desk like you see in the picture, my back was straight and it was a WORKOUT for my slouchy back!

In a day and age where “Sitting Sickness” is a real thing, and people combat it with expensive gym memberships or eat-like-a-bird diets…in the past 2 weeks, I’ve lost 3 lbs.  No diet change, no exercise change…just standing for at least 2 hours during an 8 hour workday.  My back and shoulders don’t hurt as well.  My feet complain a little bit, but they’re just out of shape.

EVERY BUSINESS NEEDS THESE FOR THEIR PERSONNEL.  Hands down, end of story.  Go to JustStand.org for information!

Sitting should not be the norm.  I’m in sales…I need to be moving, on the ball, excited.  Nothing is exciting when you’re sitting.  My coworkers are jealous in a good way…they want to know how they can get one too…and that’s going to drive HR and Facilities nuts…but I don’t care.  We all need to be healthy, and this is a step in the right direction.  Heck, I gave up Aspartame in my diet last week and haven’t looked back…the Ergotron Workfit has shown me how.

Try one today at your company…see the difference it will make.  Save your company money on sickdays, back injuries, diabetes issues, heart issues…the list goes on.  Have any questions, contact me and ask!!!!

Here’s a shot of it at full height.

workfit 2

Best of Health to you!

RED ALERT! Apple is stepping in!

Like many of you know, i have Arizona as a part of my territory, and while talking with friends in the Arizona Technology Group over on LinkedIn, the topic of businesses against Arizona SB 1062.  That’s the bill that flaunts the 14th amendment and would allow businesses to discriminate against LGBT folks (or anyone really) on a “moral ground” of somesort.   This article from CNN calls the pro-side out on their nonsense (“it means a gay person doesn’t have to work for the Westboro Baptist Church” – why would they want to?)  While this bill has been news for a while, this petition by 83 businesses in Arizona asking the governor to NOT sign it into law hasn’t been. Many of these businesses know that this is going to hurt AZ Tourism (I know I’m not going there…even for business if I can help it) and Business for years and don’t want it to happen.

The kicker here is that APPLE…THE APPLE…has signed on to this letter.  While the future of their Sapphire glass factory is uncertain, the threat of pulling that out of AZ would be a staggering hit to the state economy.  Normally Businesses do not act for the charity or kindness to humans…even Apple.  They act to make themselves the most money…so this move isn’t about just helping the LGBT community, it’s about Apple telling AZ that this is a stupid move and they don’t want their business hurt by it either.

Like I said on Facebook earlier…”When the Fruit has to step in to school a State on how to make laws…you know it’s serious.”  (Altered for language. 😉 )

Oh yes…remember that little thing called the Super Bowl?  It’s scheduled to be in Glendale, AZ next year.  The NFL is already watching this…and they’re going to act if it’s signed into law.

 

 

 

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Wear Me This

BYOW (Bring Your Own Wearable)

Yes, you heard right. BYOW.  This trend seems to be picking up steam and its projected to be the next play in technology.  At the CES 2014 Las Vegas just this week, wearable devices were noticably everywhere.  Smart glasses, watches, bracelets, visors just to name a few. Even smart devices for your pet!

Come on, you know you want a pair of these!

Come on, you know you want a pair of these!

Corporations are taking notice and so are big name manufacturers. We all know about Samsung and Apple smart watch.   Microsoft has a wearable research and development deparment.  Imagine data being transfered through your body!  Shiver me timbers 🙂  Lenovo is rumored to be exploring wearables.  They are in the planning stages, but I’m sure it will be something to “Think” about.  Get it..Think as in Thinkpad HAHA.  Even the processor giant Intel is getting in on the idea.  Intel is teaming with a design label company to develop a wearable bracelet.  A fashion bracelet that has a giga”Byte” to it.  Not only sexy, but smart also!   **Low Whistle**

"So my laser pointer next to my eye isn't a trend setter?"

“So my laser pointer next to my eye isn’t a trend setter?”

Looking forward to seeing what comes out of this.  Beware IT administrators as this will most likely be another device to protect your network.  And beware you husbands as this will add another piece of clothing to ask the wife “Honey where is my fashion bracelet?”

The Little Turbine That Could

New Mac Pro is the most exciting Apple computer in years

Hi there!  I’m one of the newest partners on the PCM Dragontech Team…and while you don’t know who I am yet, I’m sure you will soon. 🙂   My name is Stacy Witkowski, and I’m a lot cooler than these other nerds here, I promise!  (She’s not much more nerdy than Dwight – editor)   But enough about me and more about what we are here to talk about…the exciting new MAC PRO; The newest movement in desktops from Apple!

Personally I’m excited to see this unit in person and know my customers are equally excited after the long wait for the new Mac Pros.   While surfing for news on the new Mac Pro, I came across this great article from Electronista, and I recommend you take a look at it. It seems the wait was well worth it.

Why am I excited? The sleek, light design.  The old Mac Pros looked like a gigantic desktop tower straight out of a movie from the 1990s…or something you’d strain your spaghetti through.

It's a sieve I tell you!

It’s a sieve I tell you!

My clients are excited about the enhanced performance!  Probably the most able of the Mac Pros ever, this badboy has 6 cores and up to 64GB of ram.  It’s almost bigger on the inside than the outside!

I think Darth has his work cut out for him...

I think Darth has his work cut out for him…

“Apple still makes computers for the professional market, although no one has ever seen a professional workstation like this before.” Some are and some aren’t Apple fans but one thing we all should agree upon, the new Mac Pro is something special and is as innovative as anything Apple has ever done.

Have a great weekend everyone! 🙂

Air Ball!

Wow.  Today marks the release event for Apple’s new iPad, and Mac Pro.   Or should I say, “Airball right over the Ashcan.”  Sigh…I miss the innovention that used to come with new Apple events…that showed us advances in technology and how their products were going to change our lives.  Today all we get is a million dollar dog & pony show that shows us something that weighs less.

Yes, I can see that it uses the new A7 chip…and that means nothing to consumers who want to buy your devices.  They don’t understand it, and I only choose to understand it because I work in this industry.  Times were that you did a large product announcement to show off features that made us say “wow that’s going to change how I do business” or “that is going to be SO much easier now”.  Unfortunately those times are gone…instead we hear technogobbletygook about a new processor and how light something is.  Great so it can fit into more purses and murses out there.

The new Mac Pro?  The Ashcan.  The Mac Pro was THE unit to customize to your every hardware need.  The new one is as customizable as a mid 2000’s E-Machine.  Yes it’s kitschy and interesting-looking…oooh lots of ports you don’t need…nothing new outside of trying to make sure that you are a forever buyer of Apple products from Apple…surely not anyone else.

To quote a comment I saw today on CNet’s review of the Apple iPad Air, “Underwhelmed?  That’s an overstatement for Apple these days.”   We should all hold a wake and watch Apple sail off into the world of Microsoft during the days of ME and XP…where they dominated the world with nothing but bluster and hot air.  Disappointment is the word of the day, boys and girls.