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Copeland Data News - October, 2011

We bring you this fall edition of Copeland Data News.  It has been an interesting summer, no matter where you may hail from. The fall season is a time for change. In business, this season is a good time to reflect on our past and think about where we are and delve into where we need to be. Technology today plays a part in so much we do in business today - and it is this same technology that can really help us reach our business goals.

While browsing this newsletter, if you think of anything that you would like to discuss as it applies to your situation, never hesitate to drop me a note.  We are here to help and serve in any way we can.

Thank you,

Tom

In this issue of Copeland Data News

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Tablet - What do I Buy?

The Tablet market has really taken off, which means that if you want to buy a Tablet, what tablet should you buy?

Tablet options include:

TabletThere is no clear choice on which Tablet to buy - it all depends on you.

iPad Tablet - this is the leader from a “marketing” point of view. If you have an iPhone now, an iPad is a logical choice. Because of its popularity, there are also many “add-on” devices and plenty of software in its software store. This is certainly a “good” choice and a “safe” choice. Apple will likely push the iPad 2  through the Christmas season, and the Spring of 2012 is likely to bring a new iPad 3.

Android Tablets - like the Motorola Xoom is technically sound and great in many ways due to the Android Operating System. Techies like the Android-based tablets because of the depth of the operating system. Folks who have a Android-based phone tend to like the Android-based tablets. The hardware available with the Android Operating System is changing all the time as new devices are always being released.  Those who like Android based tablets tend to be “Mavericks”, looking for the next thing as the Android Operating System is a dynamic piece of work.

The latest entry to the Android-based market is the Kindle Fire from Amazon.  With a low price point and media-rich features, the Fire fits most people's needs (books, apps, music, video, web) and budget ($199).  The initial release lacks a camera/webcam, email client and 3G connectivity, so it cannot be considered a direct iPad competitor just yet, but Apple needs to keep Amazon's momentum in check.  Pre-orders are being taken and the Fire will ship November 15, 2011.  Current Android offerings can be seen at CNET.

Windows-based Tablets - these are great for special roles. If, in the workplace, you need the user to interact with Microsoft technologies to communicate with the office, or you have other needs that require Windows based software, a Windows tablet may be what you need. While Windows 8 will allow for better Windows tablet platforms when it becomes available, the current Windows 7 tablets are rather limited. Microsoft is clearly playing catch-up in the tablet market.

Hardware manufacturers have come up with 3 strategies to incorporate the Windows Operating System into various tablets:

In summary, the tablet marketplace is a growing and every-changing sector. There is no easy answer to “what should I buy” but if you keep some of these things in mind, you will likely make the right choice for you.

Windows 8

Microsoft has been working on the next version of Windows which they are calling Windows 8. From what we can see, Windows 8 is not simply an upgrade path from Windows 7. Windows 8 is a radical departure from the traditional Windows standard. It is with Windows 8 that Microsoft is attempting to create its own path for current and future computing paradigms.

To best understand where Microsoft needs to be with Windows 8, it may be worthwhile to review where Microsoft current is with its current technology.

From this description, you may be able to see the problem that Microsoft has faced. Frankly, they are “all over the board” in terms of software to run hardware. Their solution to manage this problem is Windows 8.

Windows 8 is being designed to encapsulate all of these kinds of devices under a single software core - so PC’s, phones, tablets, and scanners - they would all be able to run Windows 8. This is the standard that Microsoft is trying to bring to the users and it is this standard that Microsoft is betting on to bring them into a better place with their competition.

Windows 8 will look and act more like “iPhone and Android” than that of any previous version of Windows. We may see Windows 8 be available sometime in 2012 - probably in the second or third quarter.  Windows 8 should be interesting and we will keep you posted.

Did you Know?

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Google+ is Google’s answer to Facebook and is now open to all users.  There are
Google+similarities to Facebook, but Google+ goes out of its way to be different. You can create “Circles” of friends, and you can get together with friends via online video at “Hangouts”. You can find out more about Google+ at www.google.com/plus.

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Verizon Wireless and AT&T have dropped their unlimited data plans for any new contracts. While you may be able to upgrade phones while retaining the same contract, any new contract will force you into a limited bandwidth plan. Basically, you will be paying for what you use. This could put a hamper into your possible use of many streaming services like Internet Radio and Netflix over your Smartphone.

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IPv6IPv6 is coming. IPv6 is the replacement of IPv4, the standard to give each of us an identity on the Internet. There are plenty of unknowns yet in terms of how will IPv6 get to you, especially coming from cable systems, etc. An investment in some new router hardware may be needed to manage this for many of you. We will all hear more about this, possibly even as early as 2012.

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Mac OS X LionMax OS X “Lion”, release 10.7, was released and is available for many Mac users. For typical Mac users, they will see some changes in Launchpad and other areas that clearly show that Apple wants the Mac to feel like their iOS operating system found on an iPhone and an iPad.  This may be a sign of a future merging of iOS (iPhone and iPad) with traditional Mac OS X platforms.

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LookoutFor your Smartphone or tablet, think about adding virus protection. AVG, McAfee and Symantec have products in their perspective stores. As previously mentioned, Lookout also offers good protection on your mobile device from Malware.

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Dual-monitor support is becoming popular, almost standard in the workplace. It is easy to add dual -monitor support to your PC by adding a dual-monitor video card and acquiring a couple of identical flat-panel monitors.

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SpotifySpotify has opened up access to its unique music service to the U.S. Spotify offers free as well as premium access to your own streams of music - all licensed and legal. Instead of buying mp3’s to store locally, the Spotify application allows your stream library to follow you wherever you are. Go to www.spotify.com to find out more.

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Should your software environment be completely cloud based - where no applications exist on your local hardware?  Not so fast. While some cloud-based applications make some sense to exist in the cloud, many other applications may not fit that paradigm. Local (Non-Cloud) applications offer you:

  • Access: Utilize your application whether you are connected to the Internet or not.
  • Self-Determination: You want to use an older version, or tweak its use - only locally residing applications make sense.
  • Trust: Your data is less vulnerable to falling into the wrong hands when you are using local applications. On the web - anything can happen - including the provider going out of business.
  • Versatility: Local applications are more full-featured than their web counter-parts.
  • Suitability to the Task: Does the application need low-level access to the Operating System? Web applications cannot do this.
  • Speed: Locally run applications run quicker and more efficiently than most cloud applications.

In summary, do not be too quick to throw locally run applications “off the train”. While cloud-based applications have their place, locally run applications still have major advantages that affect the end user in big ways. (http://www.pcworld.com)

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The trend continues in business with BYOD - Bring Your Own Device.  While businesses are working hard to allow associates with consumer devices like iPhones and iPads to access business resources, there are still plenty of challenges. Securing the data, ensuring quality of service, and setting access policies are a few of the issues many businesses face while trying to be “device friendly” with associates. As devices continue to change and functions continue to expand, this challenge will remain.

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Office 365Google Apps and Microsoft’s Office 365, the cloud competitors in email and office tools functionality, are these tools ready to replace the desktop counterparts? 

Email can work well in both offerings. The other tools - like word processing, spreadsheet applications, etc - most users are not ready to give up their full-functioned desktop versions to the cloud just yet, as these online tools are far from being total replacements for the desktop applications.

Google Apps

Your comments are always appreciated...

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