Posts Tagged Vendors

How Google is Useful

Recently I blogged about Orientating around Android Devices.   While I did mention the use of applications and services in that post, I didn’t call out any in particular.

However, this screen shot, demonstrates one really useful service, I have become increasingly fond of and reliant upon.

That service is Google Now

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As a reasonably frequent traveller the information provided is succinct, timely and ultimately useful in assisting me plan, and schedule my actions.

As it covers a number of topics, including sport, useful local information, etc, and it is available on the desktop too – it is a pervasive, multi-device digital assistance.

Certainly in terms ecosystem and service, lock-in and increasing consumer dependency, I think Google Now, leads the field.

What do you think?

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Orientating around Android devices

 

At the start of May I received a replacement for my broken Blackberry 9300 Curve.  I am very glad to say it wasn’t another Blackberry, instead I received a Sony Xperia M – a reasonably modern Android phone running Android 4.3.

Moving to an Android based phone, has been a boon for me as it will nicely compliment my Nexus 7 tablet.  In fact the commonality of Google and Android is the basis for an almost complete repetition and synchronicity of many of the applications and services I use.  I still use a Windows operating system on my laptop, but is not a conflicting factor, as many applications and services are also accessible via the Google Chrome browser.

While of course the Microsoft Windows desktop operating system is still very dominant in terms of usage in the laptop | desktop space and more so with Windows Surface tablets.  Having such good quality access to applications and services  on two Android form factors (phone and tablet), has made me question the necessity of remaining on Windows as the operating system of choice for the laptop device.

Already core Windows Office suite applications and services (Outlook | MS Word, Excel) etc. are already or being made more tablet or browser compatible.  Think of the Office 365 service, and the Office Web Apps functionality, so further diminishing the requirement to have an actual application installed onto a Windows operating system as a necessity.

While most enterprises can’t consider abandoning Microsoft Windows as a device platform altogether, I think the personal consumer and many SME/ SMBs could strongly consider the possibility of an entirely Android (and here I stretch the term a little to include Google Chromebooks) based device eco-system.   Google Chromebooks are now a maturing and full featured alternative to the Microsoft Windows based device. 

Of course Apple also offer a very compelling set of devices, coupled to a very well integrated operating system and application set.  So both Google and Apple offer opportunities upon which to orientate or consolidate on to bring more common device harmony into a business.  We should not discount the option to consider a more explicit Linux based desktop system, such as Ubuntu or Linux Mint etc.,  though having tried them for a while, I believe they will always remain a more niche player in the desktop | laptop space, especially with such dominant competition from Apple, Google and Microsoft.

This brings in a further opportunity to consider moving away from device centric applications and data,  and how the virtual desktop (VDI) and application virtualisation options also need to be considered along side the choice of device eco-system.  

Other aspects to factor into these considerations include

  • Data and content storage and delivery – will this all be cloud based – e.g. Google Docs or Microsoft O365 – or are there other factors to be considered?
  • Do certain use cases necessitate the use of a local application and data set?  (e.g. Microsoft Excel, Microsoft Project)
  • Device management strategy – patching and updates – how will they be managed and delivered

Having also tried a Google Chromebook, (having used one while on a holiday break),  I can see how it could easily cater for 85% of the work and processes and I engage with as an Information | Knowledge worker.  Only that I need to work with and build fairly complex spreadsheets (using Microsoft Excel) is keeping a Windows based operating system as a necessity.  I do also wonder how well a device such as Google Chromebook caters for multimedia activities consumers need around managing and connecting with peripheral devices like cameras and editing videos etc.

More and more frequently I’ve seen the Apple Macbook Pro (or the Osx UI – via web meetings) appearing, and presume those users are benefitting from a harmonised device experience between the Apple Mac and their iphone device. 

Of course Microsoft also offer their Windows Phone based devices, which also offer a similar integrated operating system and application set.  However, the application ecosystem for Windows Phone devices, doesn’t offer the same breadth of application support and availability that Apple and Android devices users have at their disposal.  Which for me is a detractor for opting to orientate around a complete Microsoft Windows device ecosystem.  Though in terms of UI design and strategy, I think both Apple, Google and Microsoft offer are continuing to recognise the need for distinct and yet harmonious and cohesive UI across all their device form factors.

As both device manufacturers and application developers, build services that accumulate pertinent personal data sets (photos & videos, music collections & playlists, quantitative data (location & travel, health & exercise metrics)), so increasing data transfer inertia or lock-in.  I think consumers will need to seriously consider which particular eco-system and device arrangement makes sense for them, as it look likes it will turn into a long term affair, and with not insignificant hurdles to overcome to move or transfer across manufacturers.

  • Do you share this view?
  • Have you already made a considered choice around a particular device set or eco-system? 
  • What were the determining factors for you?   

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Visual Magic with Word Lens

Google recently acquired Quest Visual – the developers of Word Lens – the incredible language manipulating app, that translated language in real-time while using input from the mobile device’s camera.

Word Lens

The app is currently available for free via Google Play.

To see how amazing it is – have a look at the video

It is currently available for Andriod, iOS and even Google Glass

For any traveller or language enthusiast this has a must have app.

And for Google  this plays very nicely into the Language and Translation service portfolio e.g. Google Translate

  • Have you used Word Lens?
  • What other mobile language tools would you recommend?

 

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Key Links for SharePoint 2013

These are some key links for SharePoint 2013:

Overview Video of Microsoft SharePoint 2013

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Google Nexus – Delivering Beautiful Hardware and Software – Consumer beware!

Looking at the Google.com/Nexus site, there no doubt Google want to | and do – deliver a “Wow!” factor around their consumer device portfolio : Nexus : – (phone|tablet|player)

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This is going to go a long way to help Google establish a firmer foothold in the digital consumer market, beyond their stronghold of web services and grow the Android mobile platform into a core delivery platform | access gateway into many other Google products and services.

My impression is that this has the potential to bring them on par with the established market-share that Apple holds with it’s iOS (iPhone, iPad, iPod, AppleTV) product set.

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This will also be a warning shot to other digital consumer stalwarts such as Microsoft, Amazon and Sony.  Particularly as these are working to combine product with services.  There are a whole bunch of hardware and product manufacturers which will be also watching, but much of their activity is in becoming “manufacturer of choice” to these conglomerate mega-brands.

However, this is not an overnight takeover, for a start nowhere on Google.com is there any link to the Nexus mini-site.  However, it is highlighted on the Google Play mini-site:- in fact the Nexus 7 is available for pre-order now! (in the UK)

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Google Play is the consumer storefront for its digital products and services (music, movies, books, magazines, apps (games)) – though not all services are globally available yet.

While Apple has iCloud , Amazon the Kindle store and Amazon Cloud Drive and Music player (again not generally available outside the US), Microsoft Xbox Live and Sony the Playstation network.

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I think there will be a pang of regret and surprise (amongst these competitors : Apple, Microsoft, Amazon and Sony) at how comprehensive a service | product suite that Google is establishing and how rapidly these parts have been assembled. Certainly looking at how these companies are evolving their web presences for the digital consumer, I think it is fairly clear that Google has a well thought strategy and presentation to the consumer market.   Amongst the others, it seem more “mixed message” at what it is they wish to be their primary delivery to the consumer (e.g. just products, already established services) – but not necessarily such a “front & centre” digital consumer experience.

What do you think? 

Is Google on to a winner with Google Play to become a digital consumer products and services hub?

Or do you think another provider has a better set of products and services?

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A Curiosity about Windows Explorer Jump Lists

I really enjoy the Jump List feature in Windows 7 and I’ve described how useful Windows Jump Lists are before.

Here >> Helpful tool for Apps that don’t use Windows 7 jump lists

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The Curious Frustration:

However, I found a frustration about the manner in which the “Frequent” folders list get populated.

It considers folders that are “Frequent” to be those that you open files from them (they contain files).

Therefore if you have folder of folders e.g. “My Documents\JumpList Folder\” – it won’t be counted or included.

Even though you open it and access it plenty of times, it won’t appear on the “Frequent” list on the Windows Explorer Jump list.

The Demonstration:

To demonstrate this – I created three “sub folders” (see image below).

I created a notepad document in both “Sub Folder1” and “Sub Folder2”.

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I tested this by theory by opening the Notepad document in the folders “Sub Folder1” and “Sub Folder2”, those folders appeared on the Windows Explorer Jump list immediately. (see image below)

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But, however much I accessed the empty folder “Sub Folder3” or the folder of folders “JumpList Folder” – neither appeared in the Windows Explorer Jump list.

Now I understand that empty folders don’t need to classed as a “used” | “pin able” item.  However, I think it strange that a folder containing folders doesn’t captured by the Windows Explorer Jump list.

I also haven’t found any documentation to state this?  Anyone seen anything useful here?

Jump List Hint & Tip:

So my Windows Explorer Jump list hint & tip, is if you use a “folder of folders” which you wish to pin to the Windows Explorer Jump list – create a txt file in it, and open it, pin the folder to the Windows Explorer Jump list and remove the file!

For another Windows Explorer Jump list tip for removing stuck pins check out : Fix for When Pinned Jump List Items Get Stuck in Windows 7 by HowtoGeek

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Jive Anywhere – a social browser extension from Jivesoftware

Jive released a browser extension today : “Jive Anywhere” (article via Techcrunch) also see “Jive Anywhere: socializing the web.”

In the print screen examples below you can see how the extension expands out from any browser tab to show the discussion and content in your community related to that page.

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This print screen shows the expanded discussion thread taking place.

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When it’s not required it can be easily tucked away onto the right hand scroll bar, like so.

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I have to agree with other commentators like Alan Lepofsky who write :

“I don’t say this often, but Jive Anywhere has the potential to be one of those rare “game changing” technologies with respect to the way people work.”

In his article “Jives Latest Release Takes Integration To 11

I think of this tool in the following way:

In the world of the hunter|gatherer, the foraging for knowledge by the information worker, this is now a must have tool!  Jive Anywhere brings the community to bear and support that virtual roamer, and allow them to return the goods into the heart of community – the people and context that matter in an instant.  At its best reducing the time to action and response, but in simple terms helping people stay in touch and up to date.

This pervasive availability of connectedness into your core community, to garner and share knowledge in this way is a real step change.  Especially with the support of context “cartridges” for particular sites or service providers. (e.g. Salesforce.com)

I liken this to the evolution of browsers that brought social network connectivity into each tab, via  the extension apps and underlying API integration of from the social network.  Also this mimics the advantage that blackberry had when it brought email, voice and texting into a single mobile device.  In some way Jive are jumping ahead of their competition with this browser extension release.

There are a couple of things I would like to see evolve in this extension:

  • multi-community support – in the same way that some twitter extensions support multiple twitter, it would be useful to use the tools for different communities and contexts.
  • better support of SSO | Identity federation – I don’t see it supporting common enterprise security configurations in its current state.
  • mobile browser | app support –  many people will browse the web on smart phones or tablets, and they will need this extension in those devices contexts as well.

Download and Install Jive Anywhere from >> here 

What do you think?  Have you tried this yet?

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