As the IT world turns

The more time I spend working in the Information Technology field, the more I see opportunities. Usually, it’s simply a an old technology being consumed by a newer one – like traditional telephones being taken over by VoIP phones on the corporate desktop. I’ve championed that notion for nearly a decade, and only now is that really happening at an increasing pace. Cool stuff if you get a chance to use it too.

However, that’s not what I see happening right now. It’s much simpler and much more fundamental than another Microsoft Windows server taking on another role from another team or technology. The changes that are afoot are at the root, the foundation of enterprise computing and it has a social media tie-in. I have a message for my peers in the Information Technologies field. Your world is already changing, and if you don’t see what’s happening, you’ll be left behind.

The change that’s taking place renders the corporate desktop as we know it, obsolete. The disparate servers, inefficient. This is something that I’ve been watching for some time, but only recently have seen some indications that convince me that the world has turned the corner.

What are these things that change the entire game? Why, virtualization, thin clients and “web 2.0” software of course. You already are talking about these things. You are probably working with a couple of them if not a combination of all in some way. What’s convinced me that IT ten years from now will be a wildly different landscape than it is today is the fact that virtualization works, thin clients are actually viable now, and “web 2.0” software is past the “wow” stage and into solving business needs. Add the idea that many software solutions don’t care if they run on Windows/Unix/Linux and you now have a broad base of reliable, sustainable open source systems to choose from.

There is also the introduction of Gen Y into the workforce, who bring a different expectation to work. By being more mobile, working remotely via the web, and having social media & networking as second nature, this workforce alone will bring an impressive amount of change.

So what is the bottom line I’m saying for corporate IT? I’m saying that the desktop as we know it is dead. Windows “7” may be the last “legacy” operating system to be deployed. Desktops will disappear completely as well as individual servers. Servers in general will all be virtual machines run from high availability clusters (OS does not matter) in remote data centers. If you don’t have room for one, it’ll probably be cost-effective to simply lease them from companies like Amazon and such.

While Microsoft Office will still be the “gold standard” that we compare things to, it will become irrelevant in the coming years as open source and online versions of this type of software bring more options faster, and simply chip away at the venerable office suite.

Windows itself will still remain – remaining a popular option for the consumer computing device, all of which will end up being the laptop format. Windows, along with OS X and a couple popular Linux distributions will continue to drive these machines, merging more business and entertainment functions together.

The coming change is huge, and with it the opportunities as well. Like the change that started 20 years ago where mainframe and minicomputers were starting to be replaced with microcomputers, our current definitions of enterprise computing will change radically in the next few years. Are you ready? Will you be a part of it? What else do you see?

Google’s Missing Sync: Contacts

Google Calendar Sync Ok, I’m quite happy that Google released a Google Calendar Sync tool for Microsoft Outlook.  Really happy.

Sure, I’m a Microsoft guy and have been for quite awhile.  Because of that I’ve got significant investments in money & time in the mainline business products, namely Windows, Office, and Windows Mobile.

On the flip side, I’ve moved a number of tasks and work that I do to web based systems.  GMail is obviously one of those, and earlier this year moved my calendar to GCal.

Since late March it’s been great to sync GCal with Outlook – works darn well.  Now, since I use GMail (and Google Hosted Domains), I need to have all my contacts there & up to date as well.  Also, there are dozens of contacts in GMail that I would like to sync to my Windows Mobile phone via ActiveSync.  Currently, there is no easy way to do that.

Nearly the same time that Google released it’s GCal-Outlook sync tool, it announced a Google Contacts Sync API.  I’m sure there are good things coming for everyone on nearly every platform for syncing Google Contacts with the major mail clients – at least I hope there is!

So Google, can you drop a few hints, or some info on plans to release a Google Contact Sync tool?  We’d be very grateful.

Bye, Bye Microsoft Outlook

Microsoft, o que vem por aí? It’s time has come, or passed rather… at least for me. I’m sure I’ll cross paths with my favorite email client and PIM in the future. I’ll either have a change of heart (unlikely) or a future client will insist that I use it for internal email at their location (very likely).

For all those anti-Microsoft folks that love to hear things like this, I simply have to say that it has little to do with the product. It does have everything to do with the way I work. As I transition much of my work online, I’m finding that I use more than one or two computers. Since it’s much harder to sync all the data on all these machines, and the fact that I simply can’t do this on some, leads me to world of cloud computing.

This is nothing new for me, I’ve been an advocate of leveraging the cloud for years, but it’s the first concerted effort to simply migrate my data and shift my app usage online. Yes this includes office productivity solutions as well. I’ll be using a lot of both Google Apps and Zoho Office. Both have their strong points and I’m aiming to leverage both for different reasons.

I’ve got most of my data on either XDrive or SkyDrive for differing reasons, and use as well for some always accessible drivers, tables, code snippets, and such.

I’ll keep MS Office Pro installed, but it’s use is limited to supporting my clients – nothing more. So join me, if you wish, and see how well this works out! I’ll share my frustrations and my wins equally with you.

Have you been thinking of doing the same? What are your directions on how you work, looking into the future?

Photo credit: Daniel F. Pigatto


Outlook on syncing with Google: Excellent

It seems that Google itself has released a useful little utility that will sync your Microsoft Outlook Calendar with your Google Calendar. No, I don’t think hell has frozen over, but it’s gotta be colder there anyway.

You can read more on the utility over at Google’s “Calendar Help Center“. Or you can skip the reading and download the tool here.

Google Calendar Syc

See, now this complicates my choice to wean myself from Microsoft Outlook!

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The one thing holding me to Microsoft Outlook

Microsoft Outlook 2007 I’ve come to the conclusion that there is only one feature in Outlook that is holding me to it at the moment.  Can you help convince me that it’s time to drop Outlook?

See, I’ve been a longtime user and proponent of Microsoft software.  It’s actually really good software, and a decent value… for the enterprise.  For personal use, it’s long been questionable whether one needs such overblown feature laden software.

Also, Microsoft’s software is what I’d built my technical career on – and still rely on.  It solves business needs, and integrates together very nicely.  I’m not claming it’s the best-of-breed, or that it’s the most intuitive.  It’s simply been the best value proposition for most businesses when compared to other shipping options, personal opinions aside.

Anyway, want to know what that one feature is?  The ability to sync the contact list to a Windows Mobile phone.  In nearly a decade, it has simply worked time and time and time again.  It’s only failed me on one occasion, which was a user-instigated problem (I goofed up).  In all these years, my phonebook has always been up to date and consistently backed up with changes replicated back and forth with no effort or thought about it on my part.

Addiction by mr gonzales All my mail is online, I’ve moved my calendar to Google calendar, and all the rest – but the one thing left is that sync of my trusty T-Mobile MDA’s phonebook.  With the MDA at 2 years old, I’m soon to replace it too – and it’s likely not to be a Windows Mobile phone… so is it time?  Should my friends perform an intervention?  Can I do it?  Will I have get the shakes?  I’ll keep you posted. smile_wink

Addiction photo credit: Mr Gonzales

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