Microsoft’s Sway Moseys In…

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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. ūüôā

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 m√©lange 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. ūüôā 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. ūüôā

 

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

 

 

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 8.¬†By 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? ūüôā

Taps for XP…Elvis Style

Here you go folks…today is it. ¬†I’d like to personally thank XP for all the hard work it’s done over the past 10+ years. ¬†It’s a credit to the world computing community, and we shall miss it. ¬†Its children, Windows 7 & Windows 8.1 have a legacy to carry on, and we know they have done & will do a great job shouldering that burden.

If you haven’t moved off of XP, there is no better time than now. ¬†Email us here at PCM Dragontech and we’ll help you.

Now…our official ceremony.

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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 ūüôā ¬†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?”

Just the Facts, Ma’am…

Wow…thank you for the overwhelming response to my recent Surface Has Landed post. ¬†Many of you asked for comparisons between the new iPad and Surface 2. ¬†While I don’t have that exactly, I do have a comparison that shows the Surface vs the iPad in general. ¬†Just note that the new iPad air is .44 lbs lighter and has the same chip that’s in the new iPhone. ¬†I believe this actually makes the iPad no longer a tablet, and instead is a large Phablet. ¬†Take a look…

surface 2 infoAlso…how about some pictures of the Surface running 8.1 in action? ¬† Everyone likes pics! ūüôā ¬†Here you can see the Snap function from Windows 8.1 allowing me to check my gmail and look at Facebook at the same time.

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LinkedIn and the PCM website as well. ¬†Note that the snap division is not centered…8.1 allows you to off center it for a larger version of one of the Apps. ¬†If you try and launch a 3rd window, it will hover and wait for you to flick out one of the two snapped windows.

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My day some days with already clogged 3 displays at work, I’ll be running a split screen on my Surface Pro handling some of my spreadsheets in Excel.

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Another personal favorite. ¬†While some call the digital pen a “throwback” to the early 2000s and the first tablets…it does make note taking a breeze when I can’t type. ¬†Yes it’s my messy handwriting, but who cares? ¬†I’m the one reading it. ¬†As many of you know, I have made Networking, Mobility and MDM a primary focus of mine over the past year, and if you’re considering how to deal with that in the future…let’s talk Surface and how to manage a real Tablet.

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who has pics of their own to share? ūüėÄ

Surface Calling…

*Dusts off the console and taps the microphone*

Is this thing on?

Wow…sorry folks the past month has just got away from me, and rather than post simple junk articles, I wanted to wait until I had the time to move forward and give you some worthwhile stuff to see…and not waste your time. ¬†That and MAN I’ve been working hard to help all of my awesome clients…you know who you all are…and they come first before the blog. ūüôā

Well, here we are on October 21. ¬†One day before the new Surface units release to the market, and 3 days post Windows 8.1 free update. ¬†Look, the “start button” (for those who can’t press the windows key on their keyboards) came back, the product actually is better, and the world didn’t burn down.

Heaven forbid Microsoft make something that’s decent and works, right?

If you haven’t had the chance to check out Windows 8 on a tablet and watch it work…you’re missing out. ¬†For all the flack that the Surface gets, mine has been stellar since day 1, and…wait, I didn’t tell you I got a Surface for my murflebardfyintgh birthday recently? See?
k9markIV
A really sweet laptop replacement that happens to be a tablet too. ūüôā ¬†Anyway, I was up late Thursday Night to update it to 8.1…and wow was it worth the update. ¬†Updated features, an apparent fix again for the wireless issues, control panels that make sense, a heath app built in, the return of the “start button” for those who can’t use the Windows Key, booting to desktop for those on desktops, and much more. ¬†I’m not going to do a full review…there are folks out there like here,¬† here and here that all get paid to do that and you should listen to them too. ¬†Me, I’m just a hack salesman who loves tech. :)I totally recommend stopping into your local best buy store to take a look at all Windows 8 tablets. ¬†I’ve been thoroughly impressed with the SUrface so far…so much so that I’m giving up my old HP G71 laptop in place of this…and those of you who know me, know I loved that laptop and I’ve lugged it around the US for 4 years…but its time was done for me.

Lastly…storage storage storage. ¬†I’m working with multiple clients now who have a need for lots of, or well built data storage. ¬†More on that in a followup post tomorrow or Wednesday.
So to sum up:
1) Windows 8.1 is out, and Surface 2 releases tomorrow (I am taking pre orders at work btw…call me!)
2) Go out and try Windows 8 on tablets to see what I mean.
3) Stay tuned for Wednesday’s post on storage issues.
4) Go give someone a hug, you’ll both feel better about today. ūüôā
Peace y’all!