try this with your iPad

I never really put my hands on an iPad, but I do love my Surface and Asus Vivotab, which are Windows 8 devices. In my opinion these are way better devices, which you can also use for productivity. I am wondering; can you do these things with an iPad?

  • Wireless printing? With my surface I only have to swipe from the right and I can select devices and use my 5 year old HP printer for wireless printing without installing drivers/ apps, etc
  • Edit a complex Excel sheet? With my Windows 8 tablets I have Office 2013 installed and use that to edit any excel sheet.
  • Add mouse and keyboard? With my Windows 8 tablets I can use almost any mouse/ keyboard thru USB.
  • Connect your iPad to your TV? I can use an HDMI cable to connect my Windows 8 devices to my TV and watch HD content.
  • Multiple users on the same device? With my Windows 8 devices I can add additional users, they get their own logon and there is no conflicts in passwords or apps that the other user uses.
  • Write your blog? Both this website and this blog are largely created and edited on my Windows 8 tablets.

I wrote this blog in a few minutes, and only mentioned things top of mind. I probably forgot many advantages of Windows 8 devices, like using SD cards for extra storage. Live tiles that glance to you with information, personalisation capabilities and other things that I forgot.

One day without crappy email

Last week I decided to try to become a Yammer Champ. I am a big fan of (Enterprise) Social and think this is very useful for my role. To become a Champ training is required. In this training it is required to have one day without (internal) email. In this blog I would like to share my learnings with you.

For this activity it is requested to do the following:

  • Pick a day and send your team members a message saying you will not be using email on that day.
  • For anything that is emailed to you, post it on Yammer and reply to it there.

On Tuesday I read this exercise, so I reviewed my calendar and determined Wednesday would be a good day to have such a day. I only had a few calls planned. Need to prepare a contract renewal deck and do some follow up on previous meetings. I announced thru Yammer to my team members that the next day would be a no email day for me. On this message I received some very positive feedback: good idea, why not? And let’s start a team wide social imitative.

First I have to admit I work for a company where we have the latest and greatest productivity tools; Sharepoint, Skydrive Pro, Lync IM, voice, Yammer, etc.

What did I learn? There are many ways to communicate and email is a crappy one. If you decide to live one day without email your life changes. I still did reply on some customer emails of course. But I started sharing documents thru Sharepoint and Skydrive Pro. A positive side effect is that you don’t send many different versions around, because the version on Sharepoint is always the latest and greatest. Emails that required more immediate response were answered thru Yammer, IM or by phone. You will have more interaction with your peers this way and it is much more social then sending emails around.

Did this gain or cost productivity? I do not know. I think there is hardly any gain or cost associated, but work is richer, more social interactions are good for your network. And when more people start using these tools it will release me from many unnecessary emails. I think I keep on doing no email Wednesdays.

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Client recommendations for Office 365

In this blog I try to explain the difference between Recommendations for Office 365 and Support for Office 365. Recommended does mean the best connection to Office 365 with full use of all features. Microsoft supports products for 5+5 year, however in extended support (the last 5 year) this means only security fixes and commercially reasonable assistance. It is not recommended to use products with Office 365 in extended support phase. The Office 365 services might have new features that won’t work with products in extended support. Microosoft did not test these products with Office 365 and these products will not be fixed.

For the best experience with Office 365 customers should connect to the service with the latest apps, browsers, clients, and mobile devices. It is recommended to install all new versions and updates of that software within twelve months of release. This best experience includes using Office 365 ProPlus (The Office client where updates are streamed automatically to users).

Office 365 requires the following software:

  • The current or immediately prior version of Internet Explorer, or the latest release of Chrome, Firefox, or Safari.
  • Any version of Microsoft Office in mainstream support.

Any Microsoft Office client in mainstream support can connect to the Office 365 service.

Office 365 is updated frequently to provide the most up-to-date experience. New Office 365 features and functionality may not operate, or may operate differently, when used with older versions of the Office client or with older Web browsers.

Office 365 support for Internet Explorer 8 will end on April 8, 2014.

For more specific support information see the following link:

http://office.microsoft.com/en-gb/office365-suite-help/software-requirements-for-office-365-for-business-HA102817357.aspx?CTT=1

How to create a low cost web site

Of course there are multiple solutions if you want to run your own website and you don’t have a large budget. I became very enthusiastic about running a website on Azure websites. Thru Azure you setup a WordPress website in about 5 minutes, which is amazing. Azure websites has a free and a paid option. The free option doesn’t allow you to host your domain name, but you can work around this by marking or forwarding traffic from your domain to your Azure web site.

Price: approximately 10$ a year

Time to complete: 5-10 minutes

Advantages:

  • Almost free web site (see more info in table below)
  • Enough storage and bandwidth for a small website
  • Very quickly up and running

Disadvantages:

  • You need to use domain masking or forwarding
  • No scale out option
  • Limited database

Here follows a step-by step guide how to create your own low cost web site.

  1. Create a domain name at godaddy or another hosting company. Just request a domain name and deselect all other options.
  2. Sign up for a Windows Azure trial. Now with 200$ credits.
  3. Create a new website, see screenshot below
  4. Choose a template. WordPress is a very popular blogging/ content management system. See below for an overview of the available templates.
  5. Mask or forward your domain name to your website. With godaddy this works within a few minutes.

Create a new web site from gallery

azure

 

In the gallery you can choose for the following

  • Dotnetnuke
  • Drupal
  • Asp.net
  • Bakery (starter site with ecommerce capabilities)
  • Blogengine.net
  • Boilerplate
  • Dasblog
  • Composite
  • Django
  • Drupal commerce kickstart
  •  Gallery server pro
  • Empty HTML5 web site
  • Incentive
  • Joomla
  • Kentico
  • Mediawiki
  • Mojoportal
  • nopCommerce
  • OrchardCMS
  • phpBB
  • RazorC.net
  • Umbraco CMS
  • WordPress

When you choose WordPress you have to enter the following information:

WP

Screen shot brand new WordPress site:

WP2

Features by tier are compared in the table below:

 

FREE

SHARED
(Preview)

STANDARD

CPU Shared1 Shared1 Dedicated
Custom   domain support Not   Available Available Available
Custom   domain SSL Not   Available Not   Available See SSL   pricing
Scale-out Not   Available Up   to 6 instances Up   to 10 instances
Sites2 10 100 500
Storage2 1   GB 1   GB 10   GB
Relational   database3
(optional)
20   MB included,
Standard   rates apply for additional capacity
20   MB included,
Standard   rates apply for additional capacity
20   MB included,
Standard   rates apply for additional capacity
Outbound   data transfer 2 Up   to 165MB per day Standard   rates apply Standard   rates apply

1 Free and Shared (Preview) tiers include 60 minutes and 240 minutes of CPU capacity per day, respectively.
2 These quotas are per sub-region unless noted otherwise.
3 One 20MB Azure SQL Database and one 20MB MySQL database are available at the subscription level for the first twelve months of use; standard rates apply thereafter.

Introduction to the cloud

In my first blog entry I try to explain the different clouds; public, private and hybrid clouds and PAAS, SAAS and IAAS. There are more variations, like community clouds or network as a service, but for now it is enough to explain the most popular cloud services. I will start explaining the cloud principles.

There are a few cloud principles:

Self-service, users are able to provision cloud service by ordering services thru web forms. Cloud services are automatically provisioned.

Scalability, when more processing power or storage capacity is needed services are easily scalable. It is not necessary to wait for slow hardware purchasing processes.

Internet access, cloud services are available over the internet or thru VPN’s to clients, servers or mobile devices.

Resource pooling, multi-tenant models are used to assign resources like, CPU, memory and storage dynamically.

Infrastructure as a Service (IAAS) is a public infrastructure that provides individuals and organizations with raw computing, servers, networking, and storage as a utility. Often referred as public cloud services. Examples of IAAS are rackspace, Amazon EC2 and Azure.

PAAS is Platform as a service, which is IAAS plus an environment that runs your own developed software. You run your code on a platform. Windows Azure Services, Google app engine, force.com are examples.

PAAS and IAAS are most often services where you pay for the resources you consume.

SAAS translates to Software as a Service. SAAS consists of standard software applications and databases. Not much customization is possible. Mostly this model is offered as a subscription model. Examples are Salesforce, Office 365 and google apps.

In SAAS you consume a service and the supplier is driving change (new features). In SAAS and PAAS you are responsible for driving change, because it is your application.

Now you know the difference between IAAS, SAAS and PAAS I will explain private, public and hybrid clouds. This is much easier to explain a private cloud runs in your own datacenter and is under your control. A public cloud is running on the internet, the infrastructure (what exactly depends on PAAS, IAAS or SAAS) runs in the in the datacenter of your cloud provider. A hybrid cloud is a combination of public and private. Some elements are running in your cloud provider’s datacenter and some elements are running on your own datacenter.