Friday, October 26, 2012

Asus Zenbook and Galaxy SIII

I recently upgraded my HTC evo 3d from Sprint to a GS3 from Verizon. The same week I upgraded my Dell E4300 to an Asus Zenbook Prime. After a few weeks here's my thoughts on them...

Samsung Galaxy S3

The GS3 is fast and Verizon coverage rocks. I get 4g coverage in Maine which I never would have expected I would see in 2013 let alone now. When it connects to 4G it is super fast. Even 3g speeds seem like much better coverage than Sprint. The display is awesome.

It stinks having to switch phones. I sort of assumed that since I used google play at least the apps I had downloaded would have magically showed up. They didn't and I spent the first day getting them all again and organizing the icons so I could find them. It was what I was used to but I was expecting better.

The display is great, but breaks super easy. I know it is supposed to be Gorilla Glass, but I think mine was Bunny Glass or something. Literally it slipped out of my hands and fell and cracked the glass. Entirely my fault but a 12-18" drop seems like it should not have ruined a $600 phone.

The even worse news is the repair is a $250 repair. I have insurance but it still is going to be $100 out of pocket. So far I've lived with it. I figure if I broke it in 2 weeks with normal use, I can't afford to repair it every time it breaks. I mean that's $50 a week.. It sure seems like a glass replacement is more like a $20 repair. If anyone knows any tricks I'd  love to hear them.

Lately my phone has been rebooting. Hopefully this won't be a regular occurrence

Asus Zenbook Prime

The zenbook is super fast. It's light and the display again is really good.

Unfortunately the display is too good. The resolution is so good that I can't see it. I really need to drop it down to something that makes every thing bigger, or admit I need progressive lenses. I'll probably do the resolution thing....

I hate the touch pad. It seems way to sensitive when I'm typing and frequently I look at the screen and find the cursor moved on me and I'm garbling paragraphs. So far it has happened twice in this post. That really pisses me off, but worse when I am trying to use the touch pad it doesn't seem sensitive enough. To be fair, I've never liked them and disabled it on my Dell too and used the pointing stick. The Zenbook doesn't have that so I need to use an external mouse which stinks when I'm in a lazyboy recliner....

I hate the face that I need to hit a function key to get page up or down to work as well as the volume. Speaking of volume the sound is much better than the Dell speakers were.

It's a super light laptop but the downfall is I need a dongle for the external VGA monitor and it doesn't have a DVD or ethernet port either. They shipped the machine with a USB ethernet port, but it was a 10/100Mbs connection. I always use wireless so not a big deal, but really 10/100????

I know I'm going to lose or forget the vga dongle. I haven't yet, but I will.

I miss the 3 power supplies I had with my Dell. I only have one with the Asus. I'll forget that one day and need to get another one. Not exactly an Asus issue, just annoys me. :)

Generally I love them both, but like anything it takes some getting used to. I'm still getting used to some things...

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Cars only have one spare tire - Be smart with redundancy

Technical folks often times are perfectionists, which means they want to build reliable, fault tolerant systems. This is a good thing, but you need to be wary of falling into the trap of overbuilding redundancy.

A wise man once reminded me that a car only has one spare tire. This came up because we were building out our disaster recovery site and the team thought it would be a good idea to have a clustered email environment, on new hardware of course, at the recovery site.

Don’t get me wrong clusters are always good, but they also cost more. Instead we decided to save the 25k that would have been used on the servers to fund a real test of our recovery plan. In hindsight it was a much better choice. A recovery site ideally is never used so why over spend on it.

We are actually debating on whether we should spend for the redundant servers we do for clusters. I mean if it’s part of a cluster already do we really need RAID drives and redundant power, or is the fact that it is already redundant good enough. The verdict is still out, and the cost to add RAID and a redundant power supply isn't that much when you only buy a few servers at a time, but for someone with a huge data center, like Google or Microsoft, the cost savings could be dramatic.

You should do the analysis on your environment and see where technology went just a little too far, and see if you can either reduce new purchases, or at least reuse some that you already made.

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Social is more than a company account

There are a lot of companies that have a company facebook or linkedin page. Many have a corporate twitter account, or more than one. This is a good thing and those companies are likely doing good with their social presence.

The problem with this approach is it really doesn't scale that well. Imaging a company with 1000 employees. If they have one or two people focused on social media, that's good. They can probably build a few thousand followers, have regular blog posts and updates on their corporate pages.

If they spent that time and effort on training the 1000 employees on the proper use of social media, encouraged their employees to tweet, or post photos on pinterest or talk about work on their facebook pages or in their linkedin updates then instead of reaching a few thousand people, now you can reach a few hundred thousand people.

I recently had a linkedin update turn into a really good sales lead. The interesting thing was I am not the social media representative of my company. In fact I'm not in sales, or marketing. I do though update my linkedin connections with relevant updates from my company and one of those is what prompted the lead.

Now there are some risks which is why you need to train and educate people to avoid some of the "twitter disasters" that regularly make the media. You also need to have a great company culture and employee morale. Luckily we have both but if employees hate your company or aren't engaged then this is either not going to provide much value, or can cause brand damage.Though if you have unhappy employees you really need to fix that regardless of social media.

Leveraging the entire company to help market and brand your compay and products can really help increase awareness and revenue. It's not without risks, but all rewards come with risks.

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Common decency isn't as common as it should be

I remember when I was younger (some would say much younger - I wouldn't) I remember breaking my leg. Kids break their legs a lot that's not the story. At the time I was old enough to mow lawns to make money and had six or so that I would cut on a regular basis. To make sure I didn't lose the customers, my father filled in for me.

After the first week he came back in and sputtered " I don't know what you are charging those people, but you should double it. You know not one of them offered me so much as a glass of water?". I think his language may have been a tad more colorful, but you can get his meaning. He told me, "Anytime someone comes to your house to do work or visit, you at least offer them a drink of water. That's just common decency"

Now it may be the decent thing to do, but I wonder how common it is nowadays. 

I know when we have our new flooring installed next week at home, we'll have soda and snacks available to offer them. We usually will offer to make the workers a sandwich for lunch. I remember my father's lesson, water is the least you offer. Almost every time we do this for a crew working at our house, they are shocked and amazingly grateful that we treated them with what I would call basic kindness. I mean it's a sandwich, not prime rib and lobster tails...

We do the same thing when we hire employees or contractors. To me they are still part of the family and should be treated like the rest of the team, regardless of how they get paid. We invite all of the team, contractors, part time folks, co-ops etc to our department events. I know not everyone does that and it seems wrong. 

That basic kindness should be common decency, not extraordinary.