Dibbler's Net

Friday, July 24, 2009

Hello Google Voice

So after many many tries I finally received my invite for Google Voice.

First impressions: I really like it. I am a firm believer that voicemail is a dead medium. Leave me a voicemail and I get it as text, email, sms, or just shows up in my G1 voice app and I finally start to see how technology helps make life better.

Second thoughts: This is an area of huge growth potential for google. With features like call screening, rules based on contacts, selective call forwarding with schedules, and phone numbers for almost any area code. This is something that the small business, and contractor or going to really have an interest in and google can excel. With some basic additions, and a few voip phones this can be the perfect solution for so many small businesses. When you look at the massive growth of applications like asterisk small business pbx’s are still a major cost and companies are doing what they can to reduce that overhead. Plus with the google voice call widget it shows the potential of where this can really go. Sure it’s great for the home user but nobody can deny where the growth and profit area is for both Google and developers.

Many years ago (a real long time ago) I was around when pagers were great and everyone had one. But what the small business needed was that personal touch. Virtual voice mail systems that advertised making your company sound like the major companies with voice menu’s and extensions, when really it was a computer doing software voicemail and call forwarding. Along with that you had pager services where the pager company would answer with your company name and take messages and then page you. All these services were sold to make small companies look big as image was everything and image was by phone. Now it’s about your website. On the Internet all companies are more equal and now it’s a matter of your graphic designer and not your complicated voice mail. In reality business today is not about your phone system or even your website. Today businesses have moved back to where they were when my grandfather was growing up. It’s about knowing someone and knowing their reputation. This is where the Internet has really changed the landscape. Companies google search employees before hiring them. People search for

sucks.com before buying an application. In today’s Internet connected world we can now instantly complete a search and determine if we trust them or should stay away. With all the mergers, buyouts, and major mega companies it’s not so much about the large company anymore but about the people you directly work with. Customer service is what matters now. Being able to manage all the information, responding to customers in a timely manner is what matters most. So seeing a service like this come out from google reminds me of those days long ago and the cyclic cycle that this industry is always in. back then it was about people being able to reach the person you needed to and pagers made that happen. Now with Google voice we are coming back around. You no longer need my home phone, cell phone, work phone, instead you need my one number and it takes care of finding me. And it doesn’t depend on a server in the office, or trying to program some keypad entry on your local telephone providers crippled features. D~
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Sunday, April 19, 2009

Lenovo T500 local review

It was finally time to upgrade the old Thinkpad Notebook. It was still working but was over 5 years old and just wouldn’t do everything anymore. I looked around to see if I wanted to get another thinkpad or try something new. There are some specific features about the Thinkpad’s that I really like and I just don’t seem to find them in other notebooks. Now for this upgrade I had decided to take a step up in view size as the last one was a bit smaller and lighter. I also new I wanted a notebook with a discrete graphics and built in wireless modem. People just don’t realize how convenient it is to have Internet almost everywhere you may go. So I ordered online back at the end of March. With discounts and savings I got a respectable price. Being that I sill love my XP I also ordered it with the XP downgrade from Windows Vista Business.

It showed up earlier than the promise date (which was 20 days from order but it was also a custom order). In fact it arrived about 14 days after order. The packaging wasn’t much bigger than my notebook bag. But overall all you are getting is a notebook, power supply, and some paperwork. First item was to backup the XP install onto DVD’s using the built in backup software and install Vista Business. I wanted the XP option but also wanted to see life on a notebook with Vista. The Vista install went well but the bad news was that Lenovo went and did something very cruel. In the past they have had system update for Lenovo machines. This software would download and install drivers and check for updates. Something I think all vendors should have. Well this month Lenovo killed that service and said to wait till next month to see the replacement. With that sad bit of news I spent the next many hours downloading individual drivers, patches, updates and installing them manually.

With that done I applied the Windows updates, installed critical applications and setup the basic functions. I am a fan of the Lenovo Fingerprint security. I am sure it’s breakable but it’s better than most for basic bios and windows security. Now I chose the Lenovo T500 with many custom options. It had a good size without being a back-breaker. It had discrete graphics with the built in wireless card, fingerprint scanner, web camera and other useful items. One item I was happy to see was the 200GB hard drive with drive bios encryption option. This tied in with software security means that pulling the drive on this notebook is useless without having the notebook with it. Again not foolproof security, but it means that should the drive be taken out someone will be sending alot of hours to get to my data. The system is just fast, after having the same notebook for 5 years I had gotten behind in cpu improvements. I know part of it is the fresh install and de-clutter but it does run alot faster.

Overall I am still really happy with Lenovo and how they have kept Thinkpads they way they should be and how they really do work as a business computer. I did also receive the smart dock which is a docking station that works off a single USB cable. I am curious to try that and see how well it works for desk video, kb, and other options.


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Sunday, April 05, 2009

Is the Sun shining once more ?

From the NY Times Story it looks like IBM buyout of Sun is off the table. With that comes new rumors of Cisco, HP or Dell buying the company. The question is why ? Looking at the quarterly statements I don’t see where Sun is going to go bankrupt. They are showing growth in their hardware business since last year which is based on the fact that Sun hardware is now cost comparable to their competition and in some cases the hardware is better. Sun also introduced ZFS for fie systems. With this they introduced their new storage line. I have seen enough storage products to say that this is something Sun has done right and done very well. Now give them time to capitalize on these items. Any competitor that wants to buy Sun right now is doing it to end competition with them not to enhance or grow these products.

So now is the time where I end the Fanboy bit above. Am I a die hard Fanboy that believes Sun can do no wrong ? Of course not. Any large company will have problems and will have issues. However I am a technical person. I like the software and hardware. I am also all about the most bang for the buck. When people ask why I am using a Sun server and OS over windows and VMware it’s an easy argument based on cost. The HP, or Dell server may be marginally cheaper but then you have software costs. The OS, along with VMware is a massive initial and ongoing cost compared to Solaris OS and LDOM’s with Zones. Where I am the fanboy is in the people and the pricing. For a majority of products Sun charges either nothing, or a flat cost fee. This is the software purchase structure I believe in. As someone who has written and sold software I have always despised the user based or CPU based pricing model. The software takes a set number of hours to code and then maintain, why does the number of users I have or the cpu’s in the box change the cost ? I would really like if software vendors would end this charade. The sales technique they are working on is that if you have more users or CPU’s then you have more money so give them more. How we as consumers ever allowed this cost cycle to exist in software is beyond me. But that is what bothers me most about many other vendors and what I find relaxing about buying from Sun. It reminds me of how small software companies work that don’t have lawyers for sales reps. When I buy my tv I don’t get charged for how many people live in my house and are going to watch it so why is software so drastically different ?

Innovation is the other area where Sun in many ways reminds me of Google. One of the few large companies out there where I see new ideas coming out. New hardware and software that is truly new in design and thinking. Got some time, go read up on ZFS and the drastic changes to thinking it really is when talking about disk formatting. It’s what Microsoft wanted it’s new file system to be but they never figured that out. When you look across the Sun hardware line going back 2 years you see real changes not the same chasis with bigger hard drives that you see from the others. Why is it that Google, Sun, and Apple have figured out how to innovate and in reality motivate their consumers and so many other companies have failed so horribly. I am happy to hear that for a little while at least Sun will not be changing and the many employees there can continue with the good work they are doing.

The last part is that of corporations and how they are harming us. Growing up everyone’s parents worked at a company and had done so for 10,20,30 years. Companies actually lasted and people believed in their name and legacy. It saddens me how now companies are nothing more than colored cards when playing life. They are a commodity traded by the CEO’s and with names that change a day after bad news hits. What happened to a company being a business for the right reasons. A business is something where you are there to serve your customers, produce happy employees, and be a partner in your community, state, country and world. The sham of an individual investor having any part to do with a company, and a company having any respect for it’s investors is just sad. Many people say that as a generation ages they always complain that the next generation lacks respect. This is a strange time where to me our elder generation and their abuse of the companies they manage is a far worse disrespect than the kid who forgets to say thank you.


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