Check it out! The Daily Business Review, South Florida’s premier publication for the legal and real estate communities has named Invizio among it’s Top 3 IT Consultant Services in its inaugural ‘Best Of’ Survey.
We are truly honored to have made the list and would like to thank all of our clients and supporters for making this a reality.
Microsoft will release its latest operating system, Windows 8 today. While this release is exciting for a number of reasons, it will undoubtedly have very little impact on business’ for the near future. It may however be worth some attention if you’re a Windows user and still debating the purchase of a tablet of some kind.
Microsoft describes the design of the Windows 8 interface as “touch-first” which means that it was designed to be used primarily by touching and interacting directly with the interface. This also means that many of the devices (traditional desktop computers, laptops and tablets) will have some kind of touch capability. The promise of a touch-friendly Windows computer is certainly something to be excited about especially if you dream of the possibility of using a sleek, lightweight tablet device to check email, browse the web and use Microsoft Office. Microsoft Office is the one application suite that is missing from Apple and Android tablets; and it could be the most compelling reason for someone to choose a Windows based tablet. There are a few issue though…
1. Which version of Windows 8?
Windows 8 comes in two distinct flavors; Windows 8 and Windows 8 RT and the differences betweens these two versions is very significant. Windows 8 will run on the computers we have and use today, our desktops and laptops and will allow users to install their own Windows applications/programs from CD/DVD or downloaded from the internet. It will also allow users to install “apps” from the Windows Store (thinks App Store or Apple or Google Play for Android). These apps will work in the new Windows tiled interface while your other programs (Adobe Photoshop, WordPerfect etc…) will work on the traditional desktop interface much the way they do now. This version of Windows 8 is the most flexible it allows us to use the programs we already have and still allows us to use new “apps” that will be available only through the Windows Store.
The other version, Windows 8 RT will be only available pre-installed on devices (primarily tablets) and will include an special copy of Microsoft Office 2013. Windows RT was made specifically for tablet devices which are going to cost less than desktop or laptops and have longer battery life. Windows RT sounds like a winner except that devices running Windows RT will ONLY run “apps” available from the Windows Store, the same way the iPad will ONLY run apps from the App Store.
2. Backwards Interface Compatibility
Another issue or potential issue with Windows 8 is the fact there are two very distinct ways to interact with it; there’s the all new Start Screen, and then there’s the Desktop that we’re all used to. The Start Screen is the interface that Microsoft is moving towards, its the interface you see when you start a Windows 8 device. The Desktop that we’ve been using since Windows 95 is only present to provide backwards compatibility with the programs we currently use. This sound great in theory; Windows 8 has a new touch-first interface that allows us to use tablets and new touch friendly applications and also allows us to use our older apps that we’ve invested money and time into but you should be wary that switching between both interface can be jarring. Before I got used to making the switch (if I’m even actually used to it) it felt like I was leaving the warm, cozy, safe surroundings of the Start Screen and being dragged out into the attic of the desktop where older applications are relegated to. It almost seems to me that depending on which apps or programs you use the most, you’ll either feel most at home in either the Desktop interface or the Start Screen interface and your secondary interface will simply feel foreign. I suspect that Microsoft will need to complete the Start Screen interface and completely remove the Desktop (while still allowing older legacy desktop applications to be installed and run) before Windows feels cohesive again.
3. Where are the apps?
As of September of this year the App Store had hundreds of thousands of apps (over 700,000) while the most recent Windows Store numbers show just over five thousand apps. This isn’t a problem if you’re running Windows 8 but if you’re using Windows 8 RT then you have a very limited pool of apps to choose from. I personally don’t believe that the Windows Store has to have the most app but it is important that it has the apps you want, and there’s a much better chance of that happening if there are more apps to choose from. It’s also interesting to think that as an IT Professional I HAVE to use a Windows machine because most of the programs I need to do my job are ONLY available for Windows. Up until now if you need a program to do [insert name of task here] it was most certainly going to be available for Windows and sometime only for Windows. It’s obviously too early to tell how Windows RT will fare where apps are concerned but I know that if I get a new Windows 8 device it will not be a Windows RT device but rather a Windows 8 device that will be able run all Windows programs and apps.
I’m personally excited about Windows 8, not because of the technology, but because of what it represents for Microsoft; a bold, risky foray into the tablet world that has long been dominated by Apple’s iPad and the move towards a SaaS business model and more consumer services (ie. Skydrive, Office 365, XBOX Music etc.). The few items I mentioned above are cause for some concern though and then there is the “Microsoft curse“, which may play a role in the success or failure of this windows release (if you’re superstitious). Either way we’ll what happens starting today.
In the early days of the internet there was Netscape Navigator. It really was the only decent web browser back then, in fact anyone who knew anything would laugh at the very thought of using Microsoft Internet Explorer. Those days are back.
A browser is a computer application (or program) that you use to browse the internet (hence the name). When Windows 95 took the world by storm, Internet Explorer (also fondly know is “the blue E”) came along for the ride and became the worlds most popular browser. The reason it was so widely adopted was because it was included with Windows. It was already there when you turned on your computer so there was no need to download another browser. Just because it was (and in most cases still is) the most popular browser doesn’t mean its the only one OR the best one.
The most important thing I want to emphasize in this post is that “the blue E” isn’t the only way to get to the internet and that you should have at least two different browsers on your computer. Here are a few reasons you should install Mozilla Firefox or Google Chrome on your computer and only use “the blue E” when you absolutely have to:
Nobody’s perfect. Applications are made by humans and humans make mistakes, Microsoft Internet Explorer however always seems to have more “mistakes” in it than any of the other browsers. These “mistakes” often present themselves as security vulnerabilities that may give you greater exposure to online web-based attacks. Just a few weeks ago there was a critical flaw detected in Internet Explorer that Microsoft literally had to rush to fix. Don’t get me wrong, other browsers have security vulnerabilities as well, Internet Explorer just seems to have more…
The truth is that despite what the ads say the web actually works better on other browsers such as Mozilla Firefox or Google Chrome. I know many websites that simply do not work properly when viewed in Internet Explorer but work perfectly when viewed in other browsers.
Browsers like Google Chrome supports features that allow you to have your browsing history, bookmarks and tabs synced with all of the computers (and devices) you use so that you easily pick up your browsing where you left off. Firefox was the first browser to support “Add-Ons” which are small programs that can add custom features to your browser. The point is that if you try a different browser chances are you’ll find something new that you like.
Most people have already started using browsers other than Internet Explorer, and to those people I say “Good for you!” but to everyone else, “It’s time to change your browser”.
In 2003 if you wanted a smartphone you had precious few options and of those few options only two were worth your money or time. The two premier smartphone platforms at the time were Palm and Blackberry. This post isn’t meant to document the rise and fall of Blackberry as a formidable smartphone platform, many journalists more experienced and with much more resources than myself have dedicated articles and feature stories to the topic. This post rather will explain why (although the Blackberry certainly set a new standard for mobile device functionality and usability) in 2012 using a Blackberry isn’t a smart choice.
ONE E-Mail (Contacts and Calendar)
E-mail used to be the Blackberry’s “killer feature”, it was the reason you got a Blackberry. They had the first widely adopted infrastructure that enabled usable mobile e-mail. Nowadays with so many widely supported e-mail platforms, mobile e-mail, calendar and contact syncing options are often much better on other platforms, like Gmail/Google Apps on Android or Microsoft Exchange on iOS.
Syncing data with a phone should be really easy, but syncing e-mail, contacts and calendar data wirelessly to Blackberry’s can be a bit of a chore if your phone wasn’t configured and given to you by your IT department. A part of the reason Blackberry’s gained such a strong following in government and corporations is because they can be controlled so tightly by the organizations themselves. This doesn’t translate as well if you’re a personal user however. Most Blackberry users I come across are still plugging their phones into their PC’s in order to sync contact and calendar information. The truth is that iPhone and Android phones make it much more easier to sync your e-mail, contacts and calendar information wirelessly. In the age of the internet, Bluetooth and WiFi the only time your phone should be plugged it is to charge it.
BBM was the gold standard of mobile messaging. Better than SMS because it didn’t count again your plans SMS allotment, it was faster and it gave indication that your message had been delivered and read. Again competitors now have similar or better alternatives. Messaging apps and services like WhatsApp provides a cross-platform alternative. Android phones have Google Talk and iOS devices have iMessage. BBM is no longer the only game in town and services like WhatsApp, Touch and Kik make it easier to break that BBM addiction.
Blackberry devices have amazing keyboards but thats where the praise for their devices stop. Blackberry’s look and work the same way they’ve looked and worked since before the 21st century, and while that would be fine if the world of technology hadn’t progressed at all that isn’t the case. RIM is still hasn’t made a good full touchscreen phone and their devices in general are utilitarian and uninspired (except for this one which was designed by somebody else). If you want a little more variety I can almost guarantee that there’s an Android or iPhone with your name on it and it probably has a much better screen.
Blackberry’s aren’t great media devices, mainly because of the small letterbox screens but also because of the lack of apps available for the platform (more on that later). I read the first two Lord of the Rings books on a Palm m100 and when I had a Blackberry phone reading was completely out of the question and that’s just reading. Syncing and managing music with a Blackberry is an “ok” experience at best and there are virtually no games especially when compared to Android and iOS. If you don’t want or need your phone to be your music/video/game player then you’ll be fine but you’ve been warned.
“There’s an App for that.” doesn’t apply to Blackberry’s; most apps are made for iOS (the operating system on the iPhone and iPad) or Android. The fact is that iOS and Android have way more apps available. This means that you can get a considerably lot more done with and iOS/Android because there so many more apps that allow you to do so many more things.
The one circumstance I can justify the use of a Blackberry as a personal device is developing countries where mobile carriers tend to have much more affordable plans for Blackberry devices than for Android and iPhone devices. In this case having a Blackberry probably makes more financial sense, here in that states however carriers sometimes charge more for Blackberry specific services.
Our Co-Founder & Managing Partner, Kevin V. Michael is scheduled to appear on the panel at the 3rd Annual South Florida State of the Black Business Forum on Friday, August 31, 2012 at the Renaissance Hotel in Plantation. The annual event hosted by The Mosaic Group of Palm Beach, coincides with the celebration of Black Business Month, an initiative to increase the number and scale of African/Caribbean American owned businesses in the United States and globally.
This year’s State of the Black Business Forum will feature two panels of thought leaders from the private and public sectors sharing their insight about the impact of black businesses on South Florida’s economy and the challenges, future outlook, and solutions to creating and growing sustainable black businesses.
Under the theme “Job Creation and Innovation” the forum will cover the discussion topics: