Tech Strategy Trends


November 2, 2009  11:05 PM

Security-as-a-Service Makes Sense for SMB Budgets

Tony Bradley Tony Bradley Profile: Tony Bradley

Security is necessary. There is no way to avoid the need to protect network and computer resources. Companies can’t avoid the regulatory requirements they must comply with which stipulate how data must be protected from compromise and malicious attack.

Large enterprises have the personnel and the budget necessary to dedicate the appropriate resources for security. Small and medium businesses have the same security needs, but lack the resources.

Cloud-based, or security-as-a-service (SaaS) offerings, like Panda Managed Office Protection enable customers to implement and maintain the protection they need in an efficient and cost-effective manner. SaaS subscription fees are affordable and predictable and remove the need for the customer to deploy and maintain the server infrastructure necessary for managing security.

 

Delivering security from the cloud makes sense on a number of levels. Engaging a security-as-a-service provider rather than dedicating internal resources makes even more sense. SaaS enables customers to provide enterprise-class endpoint security on an SMB budget and allows them to focus their resources on their core business with the peace of mind that security is under control.

October 27, 2009  11:49 PM

Letting Go of Windows XP

Tony Bradley Tony Bradley Profile: Tony Bradley

I know. You’ve had that operating system longer than you’ve had kids. You have been through four cars, two homes, three jobs and a dog while maintaining the same tried and true operating system. You managed not to get swept into the Windows Vista vortex, and you’re proud of it. Why stop now?

There are a lot of reasons to stop now. Technology has moved on without you. There are advances in hardware and new devices to be had that are not going to work with Windows XP. The supply of Windows XP drivers and applications is going to dwindle quickly now that Windows 7 is here.

There are also significant advances in the operating system itself. The evolution from XP, through Vista, to Windows 7 has resulted in a more secure operating system, greater functionality, and a more intuitive and user-friendly interface.

You can do it. Take a deep breath and make the switch. You can check to see if your existing hardware will support Windows 7 and do an upgrade from XP to Windows 7. If your computer is half as old as your operating system though, I would suggest you simply buy a new computer with Windows 7 pre-installed. Face it- you’re screwing up Moore’s Law by clinging to that old hardware.

I won’t lie to you. After using the same operating system for nearly a decade you are going to have a little bit of a learning curve. I will say this though- if you invest the time to familiarize yourself with the Windows 7 interface it will pay off and you will quickly come to love Windows 7.


October 27, 2009  8:20 AM

Microsoft Drops Windows 7 Family Guy Promotion

Tony Bradley Tony Bradley Profile: Tony Bradley

So long Stewie– we hardly knew you.

After viewing a taping of the upcoming episode it was supposed to sponsor as a marketing promotion for Windows 7, Microsoft has bowed out of the deal. I guess the humor was a little too edgy for Microsoft’s taste.

After the Bill Gates / Seinfeld ads, the OMGIGP web ads, the failed Windows 7 launch parties, and the grotesque Windows 7 Whopper, maybe someone at Microsoft figured out that its attempts to be hip and cool almost universally backfire and become fodder for contempt and ridicule from rivals.

Stick with Laptop Hunters or those commercials with the kids, like Kylie showing us how awesome Windows 7 is and telling us she’s a PC.


October 26, 2009  9:41 AM

The Windows 7 Whopper

Tony Bradley Tony Bradley Profile: Tony Bradley

I am pretty sure this would violate some FDA rules regarding nutrition, but in Japan Burger King marked the official release of Windows 7 by introducing the Windows 7 Whopper.

The Windows 7 Whopper has 7 beef patties– making it over 5 inches tall and well over 1,000 calories. Burger King is selling the special edition Whopper for 777 Yen, but only for 7 days (are you picking up on the Windows SEVEN theme?).

If it doesn’t violate nutrition rules, it at least violates common sense…and decency. Or, as PC World’s David Coursey suggests, “Maybe, with the “Windows 7 Whopper,” Microsoft is simply trying to finish what Vista started: Kill us all.”


October 21, 2009  10:50 PM

Prepare for Windows 7

Tony Bradley Tony Bradley Profile: Tony Bradley

Drum roll please…..we’re down to counting hours instead of days. Tomorrow Windows 7 will be upon us.

If you’re part of the 18.62% of users that are already running Windows Vista, making the switch to Windows 7 should be a breeze. If you are one of the nearly 3 out of 4 user’s that has clung stubbornly (and arguably wisely) to Windows XP, there is a chance your computer system is from the Clinton-era and may not cut it for Windows 7.

Thankfully, Microsoft has an app for that. The Windows 7 Upgrade Advisor will scan your hardware, as well as the software you have installed and the devices attached to your system, and identify any known compatibility issues. It will also provide guidance on how to resolve identified issues, and make recommendations for what you should do before upgrading to Windows 7 in order to assure a satisfying Windows 7 upgrade experience. 

Of course, if you bought your computer system before Al Qaeda became a household word, it may be time to go ahead and buy a new PC loaded with Windows 7 instead of upgrading.


October 21, 2009  7:56 AM

Acer Introduces Windows 7 Laptop with 3D Display

Tony Bradley Tony Bradley Profile: Tony Bradley

Acer is rolling out more than just Windows 7 this Thursday. On October 22, when Windows 7 officially becomes available, Acer will be offering it on the new Aspire 5738DG laptop.

Big deal, right? Acer makes lots of laptops. So many in fact that it recently passed Dell to take the #2 slot for PC market share behind HP. Ah….but the Aspire 5738DG laptop is different. This isn’t your daddy’s laptop.

Why, you say? Is it the 2.2GHz Intel Core Duo T6600 processor? Is it he built-in 802.11 b/g/n wi-fi? The 4Gb of RAM? The Windows 7 operating system itself?

No. It is none of those things. It is all of that, plus the fact that this Acer laptop also includes Acer’s new TriDef 3-D experience which allows you to view movies and games in eye-popping 3D (as long as you’re wearing the special Acer TriDef glasses).

I have not seen the Acer 3-D technology in action so I don’t know how ‘eye-popping’ it is or isn’t. I can say that I abhor 3D movies at the theater because the effects are usually cheesier than the glasses. The scenes that aren’t in 3D just end up looking blurry with some sort of red and blue (or green) halo image, and the 3D scenes themselves add little (or nothing) to the experience worth donning the stupid glasses for 2 hours.

Out of morbid curiosity I wouldn’t mind seeing the Acer TriDef graphics in action, but was this really a need that needed to be filled? Have laptop sales been sluggish because users were lamenting the lack of 3D movie capabilities? Comparing two similar laptops, would someone actually choose the Acer because it has 3D movies?

Perhaps. Again- I am biased because I don’t like 3D movies. Apparently the nation as a whole does though, because studios keep cranking out new ones and theaters keep showing them. Maybe its time I give them a try again and see how (or if) the technology and experience have improved at all.


October 18, 2009  10:36 PM

Setting Up a Home Group in Windows 7

Tony Bradley Tony Bradley Profile: Tony Bradley

Microsoft has both improved and simplified home networking and the ability to share resources between computers in Windows 7 with Home Groups.

Inspired by the much-parodied Windows 7 launch party video, Robert Strohmeyer hosted a Windows 7 launch party of his own– including cake and party hats– where he demonstrates step-by-step how easy it is to create a Windows 7 Home Group and manage the files and resources that are shared with the group.

My one big complaint about Home Groups is the lack of inclusivity or backward compatibility. Home Groups are great assuming that every system on your home network is running Windows 7, but Home Groups don’t work with Windows Vista or Windows XP. It would be nice if Microsoft would develop some sort of standalone application to enable prior versions of Windows to participate in Home Groups.


October 18, 2009  10:22 PM

Microsoft Enlists Family Guy to Pitch Windows 7

Tony Bradley Tony Bradley Profile: Tony Bradley

Microsoft is teaming up with the popular animated prime time show Family Guy to enlighten the masses about the virtues of Windows 7. The November 8th episode will air commercial free, but will have Windows 7 worked throughout the show in animated product placement fashion.

I guess The Simpson’s were booked? I am familiar with the iconic characters of the show, and I am aware that it is popular to someone, but I can honestly say that I have never watched an episode of Family Guy. To be fair, it has also been about 10 years since I have actually watched the Simpsons and I have yet to see The Simpson’s big-screen debut even on DVD. Obviously, I am not the target audience for the show.

I may tune in on November 8th though just out of morbid curiosity to see what the Microsoft marketing team has come up with this time. It can’t be any worse than the Bill Gates / Jerry Seinfeld ads, or the Windows 7 launch party video that has become a Youtube sensation for all the wrong reasons, right?

 

seinfeld


October 18, 2009  9:29 PM

Success of 64-bit Internet Explorer Depends on Adobe

Tony Bradley Tony Bradley Profile: Tony Bradley

Internet Explorer has had a 64-bit version since the Internet Explorer 6 that came installed with the 64-bit version of Windows XP. It hasn’t exactly caught on yet. Very few people even realize it exists since the default– even in 64-bit editions of Windows 7– is to open the 32-bit version of Internet Explorer.

Of those who realize it exists, even fewer use it on a regular basis. Why? Because the Web and all of its components is still dominated by 32-bit controls, plugins, and applications.

The 64-bit Internet Explorer needs 64-bit tools. Unfortunately, not many exist and there seems to be little drive or incentive for developers to create them. Mostly I blame Adobe though. Most users can live without the Google toolbar, but Adobe has managed to incorporate Flash into virtually every corner of the Web. Without Flash the Web loses a significant amount of functionality– or at least quality of experience.

In October of 2008 Adobe posted this a message stating:

“Adobe is working on Flash Player support for 64-bit platforms as part of our ongoing commitment to the cross-platform compatibility of Flash Player. We expect to provide native support for 64-bit platforms in an upcoming release of Flash Player following Flash Player 10.”

A year has gone by and we have progressed all the way to this message:

“The 64-bit versions of Flash Player will not be in the initial release of Flash Player 10.1. We remain committed to bringing native 64-bit Flash Player to Windows and Mac in future, in addition to the currently available 64-bit alpha version of Flash Player 10 for Linux.”

Whoa! Slow down there Adobe! Let’s not get all crazy with the pace of that 64-bit development. Granted, Microsoft would just as soon have everyone dump Flash in favor of Silverlight, and there are developers who agree that Silverlight is a much richer and powerful platform. Sadly though, the Silverlight revolution has caught fire yet and Flash is still ubuiquitous on the Web.

No 64-bit Flash = no point in surfing the Web with 64-bit Internet Explorer. Perhaps the fact that Microsoft is embracing 64-bit systems more fully with the release of Windows 7 will speed things up a tad? Microsoft has made it a requirement for certification under the Windows 7 compatibility logo program that tools work in 32-bit and 64-bit modes.

Adobe should be a little more enthusiastic about making the move anyway. 64-bit software is supposed to offer better security and that is apparently something Adobe could use more of.


October 16, 2009  8:53 AM

Stating the Obvious- Windows 7 Should Be Secure

Tony Bradley Tony Bradley Profile: Tony Bradley

I stumbled across an article recently titled 10 Reasons Why Reliable Windows 7 Security is Critical to Users. I use and write about Windows 7 and I tend to specialize in the information security side of things, so I thought I would check it out to see what wisdom I could glean.

Here is what I learned: Security is important. Enterprises and consumers both want a secure operating system. If Windows 7 is not secure, there will be an exodus of enterprises and users as they migrate en masse to Linux or Mac. Also- if Windows 7 is not secure Apple will make fun of it and attackers will exploit its weaknesses.

Seriously?? I did link to it up above, but you can save yourself the time and trouble. You already got all of the pertinent information in the preceding paragraph.

Yes- Microsoft has a dominant share of the PC market and huge bullseye on its back which both attackers seeking financial gain and rival operating systems seeking a competitive edge. Yes- there are alternative operating systems, office productivity applications, and web browsers that users can switch to if they are unhappy with Microsoft.

I was looking for something more than a lengthy re-hash of the obvious. As it is, the 10 reasons aren’t even all related to users at all, so it wasn’t even 10 reasons Windows 7 security is critical for users. It was more like 10 reasons Windows 7 security is very important to Microsoft so it doesn’t embarrass itself and lose market share.

I guess that title was too long or lacked sizzle though?


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