I recently had the opportunity to upgrade my smart phone to the Samsung Galaxy Nexus and test drive Android 4.0 (codenamed Ice Cream Sandwich). After a few weeks with the new operating system, it’s safe to call ICS the most significant upgrade to the Android platform to date. The newest version of Android draws on the best aspects of a variety of previous Android iterations to create a user experience that is feature-rich and aesthetically tasteful. I have tried to distill my first impressions into three areas where Ice Cream Sandwich vastly improves on its predecessors. They are as follows:
Currently I am using a Dell Latitude E6410 with an SSD drive as my main work computer. I also carry an iPad. I used to use my laptop for all my computing needs when away from my desk. Ever since I received my iPad, I would estimate that this split is closer to 30/70 in favor of the iPad. I still need or want my laptop around when I need to do things like document production, remote access into clients’ systems, etc., but every time I pick it up, I can't help compare it to the iPad.
My wife recently got me an Apple TV as a Christmas gift over the holidays. It’s a great little device. It attaches to your home network either via WiFi or via direct Ethernet connection and can be used to stream content to your TV. At home, we use it to rent movies and stream our iTunes music and photos. It has another excellent feature called AirPlay which lets you display content from your iPhone or iPad onto your television. At home, this is useful for playing games and showing web pages on the TV. But I got to thinking, what if we had one of these in the office connected to our conference room projector?
Recently I assisted a client in reviewing their Microsoft Enterprise Agreement, which is always an interesting exercise. The first step was helping them understand the products included in the renewal and helping them understand the licensing of those products. This particular client had a mix of Windows Server Standard and Enterprise, but no Data Center licenses. Based upon our conversation they will now evaluate their usage to see if leveraging the Microsoft Step-Up program and converting the licenses would be beneficial. For this client, there is likely a short-term and long-term benefit to doing so.
The other interesting item we discussed was their significant under-utilization of the software assurance and Enterprise Agreement perks. While there are 15 different types of benefits available to them, they have only minimally taken advantage of these benefits with only 2 months left on their existing agreement. Some of these benefits, such as Home Use program and TechNet subscriptions, will carry over to their next agreement. Others, however, are "use it or lose it" and will expire when the current agreement expires.
The value of these benefits is still there, however, and I have encouraged the client to focus on taking advantage of them over the next 2 months. For example, they have a bunch of e-learning and training voucher options available, and they are entitled to 9 days of Planning Services. Planning Services are are $1000/day vouchers that can be used to offset the cost of a qualified consulting firm to assist in planning a desktop deployment project, Exchange project or a SharePoint project. As these benefits are "use it or lose it," they have only 2 months remaining to take advantage of the days before they expire. With their next agreement, of course, they will receive approximately another 9 days of Planning Services to use, but unless they are able to take advantage of their current vouchers, they will have failed to take full advantage of the benefits to which they are entitled under their Microsoft agreement.
I encourage you to take the time to understand your license agreements and the benefits they offer. If you need assistance, talk to your LAR, VAR, purchasing group or the vendor.
I commute. A lot. My commute is over two hours each way between my home in Suffolk County Long Island and our offices in Midtown Manhattan. Much of that time, I am on my laptop using a mobile broadband connection. On average, I use mobile broadband between 2 and 4 hours a day. It all started several years ago when I decided to try tethering my Palm Treo 650 to my laptop and I never went back to not having Internet while on the train.
I eventually stopped using tethering as Verizon and Sprint phones could not handle voice and data at the same time and the Internet connection would get disconnected whenever there was an incoming call. Because of this, I eventually moved on to a dedicated 3G card for my laptop. 3G cards served me well for a while. There were two problems I had with using these. First, the software was problematic at times. Its much better now, but still far from perfect. Second, I couldn't use the 3G card for everything. I often test out different devices such as laptops, tablets, etc. and not all would work with the 3G card. This finally led me to the mobile hotspot.