Friday, February 26, 2010

Dell's tablet gunning for Apple's iPad

Say the words "tablet computer" and ten bucks says it's Apple's iPad that springs to mind or so says But that doesn't mean other companies aren't busy building their own version of a touch-enabled, multimedia-sporting, slab of portable computing goodness.

Dell's first effort at a tablet will be the Mini 5 (a name that is still in beta) -- a slice of plastic and glass with a 5-inch capacitive touchscreen that according to Michael Dell will debut "in a couple of months."

The Mini 5 will sport a 5-megapixel camera on the back, a separate front-facing camera that can be used for video conferencing, a standard 3.5-mm headphone jack, Wi-Fi and 3G connectivity and a Qualcomm Snapdragon 1-GHz processor. (source

Wow, I am seeing a pattern here, PC’s may become old school. However I will not be getting rid of mine anytime soon :). Looks like the iPad will have some competition, let’s see if Dell is going to jump into the Cloud and offer applications for the device. I imagine that Google will offer its app store as the Mini 5 runs a version on Android. Looks like battle of the Cloud devices is starting up. Reminds me of the days when Atari, Commodore, Apple, and Amiga were getting into the PC world –remember software will make or break a [computing] platform.

Who would have ever though that every corporate desk/work area would have a PC on it back in the late 70’s/very early 80’s? The terminal/mainframe was king. Looks like the desktop Paradigm is changing.

The First Home PC -- LOL This does not compute!!

Actually the picture on the top is a hoax. The picture on the bottom is the real thing, located at the Smithsonian's "Fast Attack and Boomers: Submarines in the Cold War "exhibit. The hoax claims that this would be the first PC. Notice the steering wheel --I guess it is a 1950's mouse......

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

What happened to my Comic Book collection? Comic Books in the Cloud!?!

I remember reading about books going the way of the dodo bird. Looks like the iPad is going after the Kindle market in a way no-one would have ever thought --Comic Books. Neat huh? Actually this is very a smart concept in regards to cloud computing. I call it in the Pepsi approach to Paradigm

Back in the day (mid to late 80’s), Pepsi had a tough time beating out Coca-Cola or Coke. This was after the Pepsi challenge successfully demonstrated that Pepsi tasted better than Coke. So, why was Coke number 1? In a word, Paradigm --people do not like change. Pepsi was took a new approach; they changed their slogan to “Pepsi, the choice of a new generation". Hence they went after the kids –me. See the adults wouldn’t change their Paradigm, Pepsi realized that kids grow up and buy things –like a Pepsi Cola. Now as I approach 40, I buy a lot of Pepsi and my Kids drink it. My Parents and Grandparents are Coke fans. So why is this article on my Techie Blog?

Well, you see many are skeptical of Cloud Computing. So Apple is going after the media outlets –i.e the young and the young at heart. Remember I was a kid when I started drinking Pepsi, hence I had no paradigm or bias towards Coke --as an adult I drink Pepsi. Apple is doing the same in regards to Cloud Computing. They are going after the young tech newbies and creating a brand. Apple realized that the PC is dead. Sure there will be servers, as they are the backbone of the Cloud. However, the PC on your desk will be a thing of the past. The question is what will the workstation [or Cloud Device] of the future be?

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

What is IT? Well my idea of IT.....

Seems like this should be a simple question to answer, however it is not. Maybe we should ask ourselves what IT (Information Technology) isn’t. In my opinion IT is not desktop support, printer replacement, deployment teams, service desks, and project management teams. The first four (desktop support, printers, deployment, and helpdesk) are outputs or byproducts of IT and the latter is an input. The reason I bring this up (see previous blogs)? How many of you in the IT world are asked by friends and family “Can you fix my computer”? All you have to do is google the problem. No training required right? Frustrating huh? I will attempt to explain why this “break/fix computer guy/girl mentality dooms many an IT department.

What is IT? In a nutshell, (my opinion of course) IT is about the applications, and the infrastructure required to deliver those applications, that support your company’s primary mission. Example, say you work at a hospital and your case management system goes down –your hospital cannot admit/discharge patients, view/update patient charts, etc. Bottom line the hospital will be sued for any damages caused and if the outage is long enough, the hospital will experience financial difficulties. However you can work without email, a blackberry, internet access, or a lack of printing. When a primary mission application goes down, people go home because there is nothing to do.

This being said, the case management system should be the number priority of the hospital's IT department, right? Wrong, the hospital's IT department focuses primarily of blackberries, printers and desktop computers. It is staffed primarily for this purpose and often times the CIO will have the blinders on when is comes to applications side of the house. Often times the CIO thinks IT is break/fix and System Engineering is the loading COTS disks on Windows based servers. If this is how the hospital's CIO thinks….how can he/she go towards cloud computing, datacenter consolidations, disaster recovery solutions, FISMA/HIPAA/SOX compliance, and etc. These are the core missions of IT; hence this is what it is all about. Blackberry and email distruptions will make an IT department look bad. However, primary business related applications outtages will get someone sidelined and/or fired. So where is the problem?

Staffing is the problem. Actually right staffing (lack there of) is the problem. As I have stated IT is looked at as break/fix. The “technical” resources hired for a project are break/fix people. Right now, the hot IT jobs are Systems Engineers and Security Engineers. Hence the hiring manager thinks IT = break/fix people. The bottom line, if you hire the wrong people in IT, you will experience bad business decisions, security breaches, system crashes, limited scalability, zero traction on the CIO's initiatives, and cost overruns (these are just to name a few).

The good news is that we can fix this! In order to do so, the IT department’s management team needs to look inward. They need to realize that they are in the Engineering and Operations business and hire accordingly (this is where to place your eggs) Project Management, and IT Security or INFOSEC are inputs to this primary mission (this isn't where you place all of your eggs). The priorities need to be set to the applications in order of business importance. Roles and responsibilities must be defined; furthermore those job functions must be staffed with the right people (the right college education coupled with certifications and experience come to mind).

Lastly, all the inputs to the primary mission must understand the business of your company’s IT, they must be technical in the areas they manage i.e. if you are Project Manager on a java project, you need to have a general understanding of coding –the desktop guy/girl with a PMP (Project Management Professional) cert doesn’t cut it. Hence you need to know when a software contractor wrote a bad piece of software and/or if the infrastructure really isn’t scalable (which is what developers always claim)! When IT departments right size and more importantly right staff, the problems will downsize. As much as we wish the problems would go away.... they never do, as technology will never solve all of our problems :)

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

The iPad, Much Ado About Nothing --Or is it?

I have to admit that when the iPad came out, I was a bit disappointed. I was hoping for a Mac Tablet, much like my former Acer Windows XP tablet. To my dismay, the iPad is a big iPhone/iTouch. Why would I want one? I have an iPhone. What I wanted was a MAC tablet, one that would replace my MacBook. This device simply won’t do. What is the purpose of this device?

So I though of how Apple is always competing with Microsoft and [I] came to the conclusion that a fat PC OS (Operating System) is so old school. The iPad was never meant to compete with Tablet PCs. It is a cloud device and this is a definitely a shot across the bow of Google --the iPad could be a Chrome killer. After all Chrome isn't a full (fat) OS, it is a light OS and all apps are delivered via the cloud.

Granted hardware specs are inferior to the PC/Mac, but this isn't a PC or a Mac, it is a simple device. All the processing power is needed on the backend, processing and memory on the iPad should be minimal. After all this isn't a PC (or MAC) running a full OS and its apps with billions of lines of code!

We should all rethink what the user computing experience should look like. Maybe the [real] computers will go back to the scientists, students, and other technical folks. Most application users simply need a platform to run their applications and in most cases a full computer is overkill. Desktop computing can be replaced with simple cloud computing devices. Something Citrix and other thin computing technology companies have tried to do for years, now with the cloud --thin computing may become a reality.

I applaud Apple for the iPad and they are a true visionary in the cloud. They brought us legal downloadable music at a fair price (iTunes), cloud application delivery with the AppStore, and now they may deliver all kinds of media such as books and magazines. Apple has evolved from the old business of desktop computing into the new business of the cloud