Taking Back IT


January 20, 2012  5:22 PM

iBooks textbooks for iPad: A load off kids’ backs and onto IT’s

Alex Barrett Alex Barrett Profile: Alex Barrett

As a mother, news of Apple’s iBooks textbooks for iPad is a weight off my shoulders — and my kid’s.

My son is in middle school, and while a lot has changed since I was in eighth grade, one thing I can relate to is his backpack. Every morning, the poor kid walks to school with an extra-large L.L. Bean backpack slung over his shoulder, filled to the brim with textbooks, folders, lunch and gym clothes that combined must weigh a good 25 pounds. Textbooks must make up at least half of that. School administrators encourage kids to leave unneeded textbooks in their lockers, but with only five minutes between classes, that never happens. At night, my son lugs all his textbooks home again to do his homework.

Meanwhile, he complains about a sore neck and shoulders, and the nurse sends home a note every year about early signs of scoliosis. Not a good scene.

Continued »

January 10, 2012  8:53 PM

Samsung: It’s better to be SAFE than sorry

Colin Steele Colin Steele Profile: Colin Steele

LAS VEGAS — Two new Samsung devices, the Galaxy Note and the Galaxy Tab 7.7, will offer security and management enhancements for business users.

The devices, announced this week at the International Consumer Electronics Show, are the first to carry the Samsung Approved for Enterprise (SAFE) tag. SAFE devices target the growing number of consumers using personal smartphones and tablets at work and the challenges IT faces in securing and managing these devices, Samsung said.

All SAFE devices will offer on-device, 256-bit encryption and integrate with leading mobile device management and VPN products, the company said. They’ll also have Microsoft Exchange ActiveSync support.

The Galaxy Tab 7.7 is an ultra-thin Android 3.2 tablet that will run on Verizon Wireless’ network. The Galaxy Note is a 5.3-inch Android 2.3 smartphone — sorry, no Ice Cream Sandwich here — that blurs the lines between phones and tablets. It will run on on AT&T.


January 10, 2012  12:29 PM

VMware wants to virtualize your tablet, too

Colin Steele Colin Steele Profile: Colin Steele

LAS VEGAS — VMware plans to bring mobile virtualization to tablets.

That’s the word from Hoofar Razavi, VMware’s mobile product management director, who met with me here at the International Consumer Electronics Show. Smartphones were a logical first step for mobile virtualization, because they’re so much more pervasive than tablets, Razavi said. But extending mobile virtualization to tablets is a “logical transition,” he said.

VMware Horizon Mobile uses a hypervisor to create an encrypted, IT-controlled work environment on users’ smartphones. The technology has not yet hit the market, but LG said yesterday that it should be on some of its phones within a few months.

The big issue for VMware mobile virtualization on tablets, as on smartphones, will be OS and device support. For now, Horizon Mobile will be available only on Android smartphones made by LG or Samsung and running on either the Verizon Wireless or Telefonica networks. Not having iOS support is a pretty big deal in the smartphone market, but it’s a much bigger deal in the tablet market, where the iPad has such a commanding lead.


January 10, 2012  1:19 AM

CES news that IT folks should care about

Colin Steele Colin Steele Profile: Colin Steele

LAS VEGAS — IT pros can’t ignore the International Consumer Electronics Show anymore.

Well, that’s not entirely true. IT pros can ignore a lot of it. All that stuff about cars and cameras and TVs and sound systems, while pretty cool, doesn’t really affect enterprise IT. But CES also serves as the launching pad for new smartphones, tablets and other technologies that, thanks to consumerization, IT now has to pay attention to.

Here’s a brief rundown on some of today’s CES news that IT pros should be aware of:

Microsoft shares Windows 8, Kinect details

This year marks Microsoft’s last CES keynote, and many attendees expected the company to go out with a bang. That didn’t happen. CEO Steve Ballmer, alongside host Ryan Seacrest, spent most of the time re-hashing projects we all know Microsoft has been working on for a while. But there were some tidbits of note.

On the Windows 8 front, the company is sticking to its late-February release date for the public beta. As with most Windows releases, there have been rumblings of delays, but if those rumblings are true, Microsoft didn’t give any indication. Chief marketing officer Tami Reller also said that, when it comes to Windows 8′s new Metro user interface, developers won’t have to build separate applications to run on x86-based PCs and ARM-based mobile devices.

And in more exciting news, Ballmer said Kinect for Windows will be available Feb. 1. Kinect has become mighty popular as the motion-sensing technology in Microsoft’s Xbox 360 video game system, but the company sees it as a potential game-changer for business applications — especially in certain verticals, such as healthcare and industrial design.

Droid 4, now with Citrix Receiver

Among all the announcements of new mobile devices, Motorola’s Droid 4 news should stick out for IT. That’s because the Verizon Wireless smartphone will come preloaded with Citrix Receiver for desktop and application virtualization.

Sure, Citrix Receiver is available in most app stores already, but by installing it directly on the Droid 4, Motorola is placing its chips on this method of controlling and delivering corporate apps to personal devices.

VMware mobile virtualization creeps along

VMware’s mobile virtualization vision took one very, very small baby step towards reality. One of the company’s smartphone hardware partners, LG, said it will finally bring VMware Horizon Mobile to market in the coming months.

Mobile virtualization lets IT create a separate, secure work environment on users’ smartphones. VMware started talking about the technology in 2008 and announced a few hardware and carrier deals last year, but today was the first time we’d heard any sort of official news about a release date. Our news writer James Furbush will have a full story on the state of the mobile virtualization market later this week.


January 5, 2012  4:00 PM

If you’re serious about mobile app development, 2012 could be your year

Colin Steele Colin Steele Profile: Colin Steele

By James Furbush, News Writer

Code Year, a new initiative to teach people coding, has registered more than 100,000 students in less than a week. That’s double the number of students who enrolled in U.S. computer science undergraduate programs last year, according to Mashable.

Code Year’s success is a clear indication that interest in computer sciences and programming has gone mainstream. It seems like everyone from your kid sister to the college intern your IT department just hired is dabbling in app development. And it’s all thanks to the rise of mobile devices.

Still, the supply of mobile developers isn’t keeping up with the demand from employers, according to the latest monthly IT staffing report from Dice.com, a technology and engineering careers site.

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December 16, 2011  2:52 PM

VMware View Kindle Fire client coming soon

Bridget Botelho Bridget Botelho Profile: Bridget Botelho

VMware updated its View clients for Apple iPads and Android tablets today, and View shops will soon have an Amazon Kindle Fire client as well.

The tech previews of VMware View clients with PC-over-IP (PCoIP) support for Mac OS X and Ubuntu Linux are also available. Previously, View clients for Mac OS X only supported Remote Desktop Protocol, which meant poor performance.

“We should have waited for PCoIP before delivering those clients,” said Pat Lee, director of end user clients for VMware. “But all of our clients now support PCoIP.”

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November 29, 2011  3:10 PM

BlackBerry Mobile Fusion: RIM knows it’s in trouble

Colin Steele Colin Steele Profile: Colin Steele

Diversify, diversify, diversify! It’s common advice in the investment world, especially when the economy’s not looking so rosy. The theory is, if you hold stakes in lots of different kinds of companies, the failure of one company (or even a whole industry) won’t sink your entire portfolio.

For years, the bulk of Research in Motion’s eggs have been in one basket: BlackBerry smartphones. And it was quite the lucrative basket. But now, thanks to the consumerization of IT, the BlackBerry is losing its grip on the enterprise market. So, naturally, RIM is diversifying.

The company today announced BlackBerry Mobile Fusion, a BlackBerry mobile device management (MDM) service that will also manage iPhones, iPads and Android devices.

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November 22, 2011  11:29 AM

iPads in the NFL: Are you ready for some consumerization?

Colin Steele Colin Steele Profile: Colin Steele

NFL players love technology. For proof, just check out Chad Ochocinco’s 30,000 tweets or all the athletes who grew up playing as much football on the PlayStation as on the field.

This season, two teams are capitalizing. The Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Baltimore Ravens have purchased iPads for their players and coaches, and they’ve even built custom apps to store their playbooks and break down film of each week’s games. Players said the iPads make them more productive and invested in their jobs, especially when they’re on the go — which, of course, is the main selling point for the consumerization of IT in more traditional workplaces.

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November 16, 2011  12:38 PM

Droid Incredible + Android 2.3 update = FAIL

Colin Steele Colin Steele Profile: Colin Steele

The HTC Droid Incredible Android 2.3 update is screwing up a lot of people’s phones.

Droid Incredible users (myself included) finally received Android 2.3 — which came out last year, by the way — on Monday night. After updating, many users (again, myself included) began receiving “low storage space” notifications, and the apparent low storage was preventing access to certain apps, such as Gmail and Google Talk. I say “apparent low storage” because most users in fact had plenty of space available; mine was around 80% free when I checked.

Then, last night, another OS update became available. For some lucky people (me), this update apparently fixed the issue. For others (my girlfriend), it didn’t. And there are even reports from users who have such low storage space that they can’t even install the update that may or may not fix the low storage space problem.

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November 2, 2011  12:19 PM

IT warming up to tablets

Colin Steele Colin Steele Profile: Colin Steele

More IT departments are jumping on the tablet bandwagon — or at least giving in to employee demand.

The results of our 2011 Windows Purchasing Intentions Survey show that fewer organizations will outright ban tablets next year, while more will extend support from C-level execs to the general employee population.

About 54% of respondents said their shops now support tablets on some level, and 68% said they would by next year. On the flip side, only 6% said they would strictly forbid tablets next year, down from 10% this year.

Check out the full results:

2011 2012
Support tablet use only by C-level execs 37% 31%
Support tablet use by general employees 17% 37%
Allow tablet use but no support 30% 20%
Strictly forbid tablets 10% 6%


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