MY FAVORITE APP

My favourite app for the iPad is Zinio, the magazine reader. I don’t have a single paper magazine subscription left (living in Tokyo killed that). Flipboard is a close second, but the content is hit or miss and I enjoy paying for this content.

With a hectic travel, work and family schedule I find myself reading more and more magazine content as it allows me to dive in and out. The content is very targeted, allowing me to read based upon my particular mood. Feel like learning, HBR. Gadget minded … T3. Love the application.

The interesting thing is that in the era of massive decline of the print industry, I have never had so many magazine subscriptions or spent so much money in my life. In the past, I was maxed out at 2 or 3 – now I have 12. A testament to usability and digital convenience.

Here is my Zinio list, in no particular order:

  • Harvard Business Review
  • Wired
  • Mental Floss
  • Esquire
  • Men’s Journal
  • Inc.
  • Fast Company
  • GEO
  • PC Magazine
  • geek
  • Popular Science
  • T3

My only gripe? I wish I was reading it on a Samsung Android 10 inch Note, not our corporate standard … The iPad.

I miss my Samsung tablet.

McAfee: I AM DISAPPOINTED

 

I am a pretty simple guy with expectations regarding virus protection: protect my computers from viruses.

I am a pretty savvy computer user, but I “got – got” a few days ago. I received an email which looked like it was from FedEx saying they needed me to print out a label and re-do it as the delivery failed. It was a virus. I have a bunch of deliveries going on right now and didn’t even clue into the fact that it didn’t make sense – only thing I was thinking was “which delivery is having an issue?”.

So I did the stupid thing; I double clicked on the ZIP file and the internal .exe (Insert cringe). Sure enough, it launched the live platinum security virus. Here is where I get very disappointed with McAfee. I have been a customer for a very long time – and McAfee failed. You can see where McAfee has failed others on this front here (their community site – many threads on this topic). Not only did it allow the install of a known piece of malware, it also failed to identify it on the full system scan I did.

I had to go and download a free malware removal tool to stop it and luckily I caught it before it did real damage.

This really irritates me. I have the McAfee family plan – pay yearly and religiously – and McAfee failed. They will come up with some excuse (it is Malware, not a virus – or some nonsense like that) – but I don’t care. In my eyes they failed.

If you cannot stop such an obvious and well known issue why do I have you? McAfee All Access – Total Protection needs to be renamed to “Not quite total protection – you should probably just go with freeware”. A bit wordy – I know, but perhaps they can find a catch acronym.

Of interest, when I could not get the .zip to work on my PC I ran to the iMac and did the same thing. The iMac didn’t get infected (and McAfee is on that PC also – but really does nothing).

HIGGS BOSSON EXPLAINED

 

Colliders and the “god particle” are all over the news. I always detested physics in school. In fact, first year honours physics is the reason why I changed studies in University; I loved to code, but detested mathematics and physics so I left computer science. Plus, I couldn’t see myself behind a screen coding for the next 40 years.

But I am interested in what they are doing with the large Hadron Collider so I watched a video that does a pretty good job of explaining what is going on. You can watch hit here.

Thank you NASA.

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A JOKE

 

I have started to tell this joke regularly, when connecting with old Microsoft friends:

Q: What is the first thing a Microsoftie does after leaving Microsoft?

A: Buy an iPhone.

Shockingly accurate.

SKYPE

 

Over the last couple months I have become a big Skype user. Not the free version, but the paid “call any landline in the world” version. I use it on my iPhone via Wi-Fi in hotel rooms and on my laptop when traveling.

The world of voice calls was very unaffordable for the traveler only a few years ago. I cannot imagine being without it now. $13 a month is a small price to pay to be able to call home wherever I am for as long as I want.

UPGRADING THE WIRELESSS NETWORK

 

Before we head out to Japan I upgraded our wireless networking, grabbing the fastest/strongest wireless router I could find – the ASUS RT-N66U.

However, even with the increased range and range extending antennas on the router, when you are upstairs (3 floors from the router) the signal isn’t as fast as it needs to be. So I took my old D-LINK router and created a second wireless network in the office called “Upstairs”. It took some time to figure out how to do that, I simply repost these instructions to help others (and in case I need to do it again):

If you are connecting the D-Link router to another router to use as a wireless access point and/or switch, you will have to do the following before connecting the router to your network:
Disable UPnPT
Disable DHCP
Change the LAN IP address to an available address on your network. The LAN ports on the router cannot accept a DHCP address from your other router.
To connect to another router, please follow the steps below:
1. Plug the power into the router. Connect one of your computers to the router (LAN port) using an Ethernet cable. Make sure your IP address on the computer is 192.168.0.xxx (where xxx is between 2 and 254). Please see the Networking Basics section for more information. If you need to change the settings, write down your existing settings before making any changes. In most cases, your computer should be set to receive an IP address automatically in which case you will not have to do anything to your computer.
2. Open a web browser and enter http://192.168.0.1 and press Enter. When the login window appears, set the user name to Admin and leave the password box empty. Click Log In to continue.
3. Click on Advanced and then click Advanced Network. Uncheck the Enable UPnP checkbox. Click Save Settings to continue.
4. Click Setup and then click Network Settings. Uncheck the Enable DHCP Server server checkbox. Click Save Settings to continue.
5. Under Router Settings, enter an available IP address and the subnet mask of your network. Click Save Settings to save your settings. Use this new IP address to access the configuration utility of the router in the future. Close the browser and change your computer’s IP settings back to the original values as in Step 1.
Connect to Another Router
6. Disconnect the Ethernet cable from the router and reconnect your computer to your network.
7. Connect an Ethernet cable in one of the LAN ports of the router and connect it to your other router. Do not plug anything into the Internet port of the D-Link router.
8. You may now use the other 3 LAN ports to connect other Ethernet devices and computers. To configure your wireless network, open a web browser and enter the IP address you assigned to the router. Refer to the Configuration and Wireless Security sections for more information on setting up your wireless network.

Works well.

WHY I THINK WINDOWS 8 MOBILE WILL ALSO FAIL

 

Time and time again Microsoft re-launches in the mobile market with a promise of “this time we have it right”. Their product has improved, bloggers like it, but it fails to capture the market. In fact, Mobile 7 had a short blip (at a significant marketing expense) and then fell away into nothing. The irony in all of it is that Microsoft makes more money from IP licensing to Android OEMs than it does on the Windows Mobile licenses.

With Windows Mobile 8 on the horizon the market is buzzing with the question – will they get it right this time? In my opinion, the answer is no. Here is why:

1. It isn’t about the carrier – it is about the OEM:  Microsoft spends copious amounts of resources on in-country coverage of carriers around the world. These resources meet with the carriers and talk about new product launches, how to align with the local subsidiary and try to influence the carrier into stocking more Windows Mobile products. You could eliminate that organization and it would have no impact on Windows mobile sales for a single reason – they have no marketing money to invest because each license is $14 and are therefore irrelevant. The carriers might talk to them out of courtesy, but they are not taken seriously.

The war is won and lost with the OEM. As so many Windows Mobile reps in the field found out this year, if the OEM does not choose to range the OS, then there isn’t much to talk about.

Think of the math this way:

A carrier decides to range a device that will cost them $400. They decide to order 50K. Revenue to the OEM: $20M. That OEM will offer incentives to the carrier (millions) in co-marketing to move the product.

Microsoft’s revenue for 50,000 units – $700K. Irrelevant.

2. The licensing model is broken:  As you can see by the above, $700K in licensing leads to one question – how is Microsoft ever going to make money in this market? We know how the competition does it – Google released Android to drive search revenue and app store, Apple drives revenue from high margin hardware, the application store and iTunes.

Microsoft doesn’t have many applications and $14 per device isn’t going to scale.  Even if they sold 200M units – that is only $2.8B inside a $65B company. Which is why Microsoft needs to rethink the mobile strategy and drive revenues by taking a holistic mobile first product view for ALL products.

Google gets that if they give Android away to the OEM, they drive share and their core products. If Microsoft were to give away Windows Mobile and ensure that their other products were mobile ready and ready to monetize, the revenues would sky rocket. But for that to be successful on the Windows Mobile platform, it requires the 3rd point – that is the biggest hurdle.

3. Build an OS agnostic product strategy:  Microsoft’s history is built on products that drive users to the Windows platform. SQL Server never made it to Unix, only Windows, Office isn’t out on iOS (although that is changing) and Hotmail is driving users left and right to GMAIL because it doesn’t support IMAP (Although they did make the desperate move to allow iOS to work like IMAP but not on a Mac).

Windows Mobile will thrive if Microsoft unleashes their products to all mobile operating systems. Just think of the Office numbers alone. One of the first things I did when I bought a Mac was install Office 2011 and it is fantastic. On mobile, there isn’t a single good alternative to Office but at the same time, users will not convert to Windows Mobile to get a great Office experience (which is core to Microsoft strategy).

If they took every product and made it work on the other 2 OSs (Android/iOS), then it would build Microsoft brand loyalty that is bound to positively flow to Windows Mobile and maybe even have some try their newest phone.

Unfortunately, their current strategy drives us away. I am a great example:

  • Left Hotmail because there is no IMAP support which means a terrible experience on our Mac and on my Android phone.
  • Left Office OneNote (great product) for Evernote because it isn’t cloud and won’t work on other platforms (My Mac, my Android tablet, my iPhone).
  • Don’t use Bing because the above irritate me.
  • Don’t use SkyDrive because unlike Dropbox it doesn’t support every device.

The list goes on. One last point, think of this – 200M devices with Office mobile at $10 a unit $2B and it would drive Bing, OneNote and others if they took the same approach.

In summary – I am willing to bet that Windows mobile 8 will not be a success simply because it does not appear that Microsoft gets the root of the problem. Sure, they will spend gobs of money on the marketing campaign, they will have a fancy multi-screen pitch showing how well Windows PC, XBOX and Windows Mobile work together and it will make a big splash in the fall. But in my opinion, that isn’t enough. Like Windows 7 phone, it will be a short bump.

I will keep using my iPhone and my Samsung tablet (can’t wait for the pen). We now have 3 Apples PCs in the house (2 laptops and a iMac) which have dramatically reduced the ‘Dad technical support calls’ and over the next 12 months as our last 2 PCs start to wear, I will probably remove them too. Starting at a new company this week I was allowed to choose devices and I took a MacBook Pro and an iPhone (It is kind of like that joke that is floating around: What is the first thing a Microsoft employee does when they quit? Buy an iPhone).

Unless Microsoft changes. The fact that their tablet will be using a skinny Windows desktop OS instead of doing what Google and Apple did – putting the mobile OS on the tablet – are indicators that it won’t happen. Their Windows desktop centric culture remains to strong, and too out-dated. Too bad that there isn’t anyone left who can shift the company with a memo.

Who knows, I could be wrong. But as a recently departed Telco executive who talked to and influenced clients about mobile trends every day, I don’t think so ….