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The mobile revolution is here to stay


I have been thinking a lot lately about the systems I use on a daily basis to carry out my work and if there is a better or more efficient way to do it.

My current setup is as follows.  In the office I have a Debian Linux system running Oracle Virtualbox which allows access to my virtual machines which I use for testing different software.  In the field I carry a 7 inch Android tablet along with my trusty Asus Eeepc 701 which is used for configuring routers. All my files are stored on Dropbox which allows instant access from anywhere, while for internet access I have either my HTC Desire smartphone or T-Mobile myfi along with my broadband in the office.  I would say that most bases are covered.

One small problem though.  I find that I am trying to use my Debian system less (basically to use less electric) and am more and more drawn to using something like a Chromebook. A Chromebook along with Dropbox would allow me to be fully mobile and relying less on the main system in the office (tablets are good but do have their limitations).

This is a pattern I am seeing more and more with my clients too. Most have either a laptop or PC and would like to become more mobile.  Most are looking towards tablets, Surface Pro hybrids and in some cases Chromebooks along with some kind of online storage for their files.  Even the laptop which is a mobile device of sorts (can be a bit heavy and cumbersome) is slowly starting to make way as people want  smaller and more mobile gadgets.

I am not saying that you should ditch the laptop and go out and buy a tablet as there are still things which are better accomplished using a laptop (word processing for example) but tablets have their uses, and these uses are becoming more widespread.  Take my 7″ Android tablet as an example.  I use it for monitoring my clients systems (mobilepcmonitor software), checking emails, social media for work, calendar, editing documents from my Dropbox account and so on.  The only reason I am looking at a Chromebook is the screen size and keyboard if I am honest.

Some people can truely use tablets, online storage and smartphones and work from anywhere while others would prefer their trusty laptop to accomplish the same thing. Neither way is right or wrong but one thing is for certain – the mobile revolution is here to stay.

About the Author

P1020114

Hi I’m Chris Wakefield the owner of ComTech IT Support. I provide Windows and Linux based IT Support, laptop repairs and computer repairs to both business and personal clients in Stirling and Falkirk.

Follow @Comtech247 on Twitter

What next for Microsoft?


Windows RT is dead, maybe not literally but not far off it.  It was Microsoft’s attempt to take on iOS and Android on consumer tablets and to say it didn’t catch on is an understatement (I did try it once and thought it was pretty good).   It was designed to run apps from the Windows Store in the same way that Android and IOS devices do and for some reason consmuers just didn’t get it (bad marketing perhaps?). They also called it Windows which was a bad idea as Windows is synonymous with PC’s and people expected to run their full Windows applications on it.  When they couldn’t Microsoft got a huge backlash but Windows RT was never designed with that in mind.  With Windows RT now going the way of the dodo what next for Microsoft?

At the moment Microsoft doesn’t have a viable option in the consumer tablet market (7 and 10 inch tablets) and this could hurt them in the long run.   The full version of Windows 8 is not a viable option as it is designed to run on hardware much more powerful than a 7 inch tablet. They could go down the route of adapting Windows Phone 8 to run on a tablet which would be a much better option.  Using Windows Phone 8 would also give them the advantage of no misunderstanding with the consumer on what software could be run on the tablet.

But the bigger problem for Microsoft could be the connection between the PC and Windows. PC sales are plummeting and with it Microsoft’s profits will also start to fall.  The PC will not disappear altogether as businesses will still be using them, however in the consumer market they are getting replaced by tablets and smartphones.  If they want to stay relevant in the consumer market they need to come up with a solution for the post PC era and quickly.  At the moment think tablets and you think of iPads and Android.  Windows is not even on the radar.

Do you agree or disagree? Let me know!!

About the Author

P1020114

Hi I am Chris Wakefield the owner of ComTech IT Support. I provide Windows and Linux based IT Support, laptop repairs and computer repairs to both business and personal clients in Stirling, Falkirk and Clackmannanshire.

For a list of what I can offer you why not visit my website www.comtech247.net where you will find a list of my services, testimonials, blog and much more!!

 

Will Windows 8 be the last of the ‘traditional’ operating systems?


As always it starts with a comment and this time it was “I hate Windows 8 it is ****!!”. “Here we go again a client who hates Windows 8” I thought to myself.

The client had bought a new laptop for his business and naturally it came with Windows 8 (you can still get Windows 7 but it is becoming harder) and he was not happy.  This particular client had been on XP for ever and doesn’t like change at all.  Trying to explain to him that Microsoft is trying to have one operating system on all devices whilst also trying to get customers to move into the cloud was like trying to pull teeth from a crocodile.  It wasn’t going to happen!!

To me Windows 8 is a transitional operating system.  Tablets by design are consumption devices and consumers at the moment love them. Microsoft are trying to tap into this market by offering a device that consumers want (ie tablet) but also a device which allows them to actually do some work on and the best way to achieve this on a tablet is to offer work based apps like Office 365.  Windows 8 is designed with this in mind as it can run ‘Metro’ apps just as comfortably as it can with traditional software.

Windows 8 is also trying to stay true to its roots and run local applications on laptops and PC’s as not everyone is willing to give up their software just yet, but how much longer will this happen? Windows 7 and its predecessors were all about running applications like Microsoft Office on your local system. Future operating systems will be all about accessing applications in the cloud and Windows 8 is the transition in the middle.

Whether this is a good thing for everyone is debatable as without sufficient broadband speeds consumers, and businesses alike, would struggle to access online applications.  I guess only time will tell.

So over to you. Will Windows 8 be the last of the ‘traditional’ operating systems?

About the Author

P1020114

Hi I am Chris Wakefield the owner of ComTech IT Support. I provide Windows and Linux based IT Support, laptop repairs and computer repairs to both business and personal clients in Stirling, Falkirk and Clackmannanshire.

For a list of what I can offer you why not visit my website www.comtech247.net where you will find a list of my services, testimonials, blog and much more!!

 

 

 

 

Will tablets go the same way as the netbook?


It is 2007 and a mobile revolution is about to take place.  Asus has just brought out the EeePC 701, the first netbook with a 7 inch screen running Linux (XP was to follow). Journalists and consumers alike are starting to get very exited about this low cost, compact and versatile laptop.

Fast forward to 2013 and I think it is fair to say that the netbook era is finished.  All the major manufacturers have stopped making netbooks and Acer, the only firm who still do, are stopping this year. So what exactly killed them off?

1. They were underpowered with low end specs

The spec sheet wasn’t exactly stellar.  Most of the early ones had 512Mb of RAM and a dual core processor running at about 1.2GHz (or there about) meaning it took a while to open documents and generally get anything done.  Microsoft and Intel are partly to blame for this as they realised that they couldn’t make much profit from netbooks and so they put artificial caps on the hardware specs.  When netbooks started coming with Windows 7 Starter on them they were even slower!!

2. Compact size

The compact size was a blessing and a curse for the netbook. It was small enough to get carried around with no hassle but the small screen meant low resolution while the keyboard made typing difficult.

3. Tablets

This is probably the main factor for the demise of the netbook.  Compare the specs of an ipad to a standard netbook and there is no contest.  Couple that with touchscreen, apps and general WOW factor and the netbook didn’t stand a chance.

So with the netbook almost gone and tablets seemingly taking their place what is to stop the whole scenario playing out again and this time tablets going the way of the dodo?

Actually there are a couple of things in the tablets favour.

1. Microsoft and Intel can’t cap the hardware specs

Most tablets don’t run Windows or come with Intel processors but instead come with iOS, Android and ARM processors.  This means Microsoft can’t bully manufacturers they way they did with the netbook meaning tablets will get whatever specs the manufacturers decide.

2. There is a huge WOW factor surrounding the market

There are apps that allow you to do almost everything these days and consumers like touchscreens.  There is still a big buzz surrounding tablets at the moment.

3. Pricing

There are low end tablets (recently saw one for £40 on Amazon) for people who just want to browse the internet and check emails but there are also top end tablets with specs which match laptops of 2 years ago.  There is basically a tablet at whatever price you are looking for.

4. Tablets are truly mobile

Tablets can be connected to either wifi or 3G which allows them to be truly portable. People are starting to work from coffee shops or anywhere else there is a wifi connection and tablets are a great tool to allow them to do just this.

As great as all this sounds there is one big thing which might hurt the tablet and that is smartphones.  Smartphones are getting more powerful with each release and some manufacturers are looking along the lines of using a smartphone with a docking station meaning you get a smartphone when out and about and then a PC when you come back to the office.  If this does catch on then tablet sales could significantly drop but as with everything we will have to wait and see!!

So what do you think? Will tablets go the same way as the netbook?

About the Author

P1020114

Hi I’m Chris Wakefield the owner of ComTech IT Support. I provide Windows, Mac and Linux based IT Support to small businesses in Stirling, Alloa and Falkirk.

Follow @Comtech247 on Twitter

 

 

Should Microsoft abandon the consumer market all together?


Should Microsoft abandon the consumer market all together?

Now that is a question I have thought a lot about lately.  Their mobile phones aren’t exactly flying off the shelf and their tablets are sitting there getting dust (I have tried a Surface RT and was very impressed by the way) and Windows 8 (again I like) isn’t exactly warming the hearts of consumers.

What also hasn’t helpt them is that PC’s in the home are going the way of the dodo and being replaced by tablets and smartphones.  They were late to the mobile revolution and so far they haven’t been able to catch up.

To put it blunt Microsoft is in a bit of pickle at the moment with their newest offerings to the consumer market.

Contrast that with the business environment where Microsoft is so entrenched that it would take something monumental to shift them.  Their server software is used by millions of companies worldwide along with their biggest asset, Microsoft Office.  With the change to their subscription pricing this should fill their coffers even more (consumers on the other hand HATE paying subscriptions for software).  There is also Windows Azure which has been picking up subscriptions left right and centre lately.

Now what would happen if they suddenly decided to cut their losses and concentrate solely on the business market?

In the short term they would lose out on new licences of Windows but since the consumer market is shrinking anyway maybe that wouldn’t effect them to much.  With consumers no longer a top priority Windows could then be redesigned for business users (unlike Windows 8 at the moment) which would make enterprises very happy and entrench Microsoft further. Their services strategy (eg Azure, Office 365 etc) would also have more resources at their disposal which would mean they could offer better services which in turn leads to happy customers which again leads to full coffers.

This is just my opinion but I would be interested to hear what other people think so should Microsoft abandon the consumer market all together?

About the Author

P1020114

Hi I’m Chris Wakefield the owner of ComTech IT Support. I provide Windows, Mac and Linux based IT Support to small businesses in Stirling, Alloa and Falkirk.

Follow @Comtech247 on Twitter

 

 

No BB10 on Blackberry Playbook – why this is a good decision and also a bad one


I love my Blackberry Playbook as most people know. It has almost everything I need in a tablet and complements my other devices rather nicely.  The only thing I would like is for it to be upgraded to Blackberry 10. Well that is now not going to happen.

Last week Blackberry announced that the Playbook was not going to get an update to Blackberry 10. I am disappointed by this but I can fully understand why.  On a purely technical level if the Playbook can’t run the software to a level which the customer would be happy with then don’t update it.  The software that the Playbook already has is plenty good enough for what most people need.

On the other hand Blackberry has effectively killed the Playbook off.  For months they promised customers that Blackberry 10 was coming and even continued to sell the remaining tablets which a lot of people bought on the premise of getting the new software.  To then turn around and tell those same customers “sorry you aren’t getting it” leaves a very bad taste.  This is not how you do customer service.

What is also a bigger problem is that Blackberry don’t intend to build a new tablet around Blackberry 10. In an age where every major manufacturer is making a tablet of some sort for Blackberry to say we aren’t bothering is a mistake.  I am seeing more and more iPads and Android tablets entering the business environment and what people want is a tablet which plays nicely with their smartphone.  If Blackberry don’t make a tablet then people are going to switch to either Android or iOS to get this compatibility and by default they will lose market share.  Blackberry 10 on a tablet would be fantastic but I wouldn’t hold my breath on seeing one anytime soon.

On a purely personal note my Blackberry Bold 9780 and my Playbook get along just fine. My calendar syncs between the two, so do my emails and Blackberry Bridge is fantastic. But my phone contract is up in November and by then my Playbook will be over 3 years old. With no updated tablet on the horizon I am tempted to switch to Android purely on the basis of that compatibility of software across all my devices.  I love my Playbook but it might be goodbye Blackberry and a lot of people might soon be doing the same thing.

About the Author

P1020114

Hi I am Chris Wakefield the owner of ComTech IT Support. I provide Windows and Linux based IT Support, laptop repairs and computer repairs to both business and personal clients in Stirling, Falkirk and Clackmannanshire.

For a list of what I can offer you why not visit my website www.comtech247.net where you will find a list of my services, testimonials, blog and much more!!

 

 

Is this the way things are heading?


I love my Blackberry Playbook but recently I have been thinking about getting a second tablet, an Android one, primarily for my son to play with when he gets bigger but also to learn Android.  So I have been scouring the internet in the last week to see what I could find.

Now I don’t want to spend a lot of money as the tablet would not be used as an everyday device but I did not expect to find Android tablets for £50!!  Now theses devices will never stand up spec wise to an iPad or Samsung Galaxy Tab and to be honest they are not meant too.  Yes they are built to a price and are not as refined as some of the other top end makes but they are designed to get people online as cheap as possible and give them a user experience which is acceptable 9 times out of 10.  If that sounds like you then you could do a hell of a lot worse than purchase one of these devices,  but be warned, do some research beforehand as some are better built than others.

Now seeing the price of these tablets got me thinking about the bigger picture.  Is this the way the market is shifting? More and more services are going online and all we basically need to access them is a device which is connected to the internet.  PC’s are dying and outside the business world laptops are getting replaced by tablets (and maybe ultrabooks?).  People are now able to do more with a lower spec machine so a £50 Android tablet looks and sounds like a tempting proposition.

There is another more fundamental advantage to low cost tablets.  People who before couldn’t afford a laptop or desktop can afford a tablet.  They are able to get online the same as everyone else and not feel as if they are getting left behind.  They are able to learn new skills (how to find information for one) which can then be used to enhance their daily lives. For example someone who is unemployed can purchase a tablet for £50 search online job sites and then land themselves a new job.

The internet should be for everyone and with these tablets it is definitely getting closer.

What do you think is this the way things are heading?

About the Author

P1020114

Hi I’m Chris Wakefield the owner of ComTech IT Support. I provide Windows, Mac and Linux based IT Support to small businesses in Stirling, Alloa and Falkirk.

Follow @Comtech247 on Twitter

 

 

Hi I am Chris Wakefield the owner of ComTech IT Support. I provide Windows and Linux based IT Support, laptop repairs and computer repairs to both business and personal clients in and around Stirling.

For a list of what I can offer you why not visit my website www.comtech247.net where you will find a list of my services, testimonials, blog and much more

 

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