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Browse Tag: microsoft

Retire Your iPod

Retire Your iPod - Small Business, Marketing and Web Design BlogThere’s a little incentive these days to own an iPod, let alone any other mp3 player. For those crazy about any product Apple releases there’s an iPhone that’s just as good as an iPod plus you can call your friends when you’re not listening to music. If you own any other smart phone device (or PDA phone) than their memory – whether built-in or expandable, like memory cards, is all yours to store your tunes. There’s little – if any – reason to own any mp3 player.

As always, Apple got there first, although many people have been using PDA phone as my ultimate media player couple of years before that. Video looked just as good and you didn’t have to pay for each and every ringtone. But you’d have to use Windows Mobile for that, which is, of course, unacceptable for Apple fans. Admittedly, devices didn’t look half as sexy as iPhone.

But even since early Sony’s attempts to introduce Sony Phone Walkman (I think I have one laying around somewhere given to me by some friend) the idea of merging multimedia device and phone was in the air. As we progress in faster cellular networks, faster mobile processors and better screens (i.e. better video quality) eventually we will see a single device that’s capable of playing stored media files (video, audio), streaming from various sources, like XM satellite radio, YouTube (and its clones), various streaming services like Last.fm and Pandora. The device will be capable of taking down your notes and synchronizing with almost any popular calendar and contact application out there (including online services, like Google Calendar, Yahoo and MSN). Apparently e-mail and web browsing capabilities already in place, they’ll just be more robust and less cumbersome. That includes sync with corporate e-mail services (Exchange, Domino) as well.

The way this future device (or rather a group of devices) will greatly vary depending on the target market. For example, for hip young crowd the device will probably look overly stylish, hyper sleek, uber sexy and totally overpriced. For corporate employees it’s going to be some sort of cross between Blackberry and something that looks nice. For geeks it’ll probably either look like a HTC Shift with a twist and a handle.

Overall, the idea that you will have a unified multimedia device with phone capabilities is upon the big corps like Nokia, HTC, Sony and others. Let’s just hope they finally hire some decent designers and the next wave of such devices won’t look like Blackberry on steroids.

Windows Live Writer Blog Editor

windows-live-small Next in our blog editor review is Windows Live Writer. Not sure what’s the version I am still downloading five minutes after launching a setup, but I hope it’s the latest one.

(5 minutes later) It’s the version 1366, which have to be updated to version 1367 via Microsoft Update. Downloading patch separately isn’t possible. You have to watch out for these things, you know!

The installation of this blog editor software wasn’t even close to the simplicity of previous packages. First – you have to download the installer. Then installer searches for Windows Live Writer installations on your computer and then downloads and installs updated core version. Then you have to go through Windows Update to …emm… update Writer to the latest version. Obviously, Microsoft doesn’t look for simple ways of doing things.

During the install process I noticed that Microsoft, being an innovator everywhere, uses the term ‘weblog’ instead of more common ‘blog’. Guess it makes some sense to people at MS, but it totally escapes me. While installing the Writer itself, the installer offered to poison my laptop with Messenger, Mail, Toolbar, Photo Gallery and Family Safety modules. I politely declined. Upon finishing the installation, the setup program decided that now it has powers over my machine and opened Windows Live homepage without even asking. But I expected that anyway.

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Learn To Fly

For as long as I have been working in IT industry, there were two types of people – those who knew how to do the job and those who had proper certificates. At one of the jobs I held there was this Microsoft Certified Systems Engineer guy, who passed all exams. I remember that someone on our team was teaching him how to troubleshoot a networked printer in real life. I taught him how to hook hard drive to the cable to the motherboard and how to install drivers for network cards. Someone else explained how to set up Novell network on Windows NT workstation. We had fun.

This was awhile ago and since then employers have learned to distinguish certified knowledge and real-world knowledge. Recently, I spoke with a friend of mine, software developer and team leader. He stated that they do take into account if the candidate has Microsoft Certification (they are all-around Microsoft shop), and what kind of certification it is. It matters to them because most of those candidates are self-learners and having certification assures that they at least know the basics of technology. It saves time on the interview since candidates are being asked complicated, full-blown interview questions, not wasting time defining what “abstract class” is and how to build an inner join select in SQL.

I guess there is some progress to the IT management as well, not just technology itself.