Sunday, March 25, 2012

Good on HP

I've been a fan of HP remarketed business equipment for a long time. Some of my family still use equipment I've helped them buy 6-7 years ago. Great stuff.

Recently a client asked me to help them buy a new laptop. I set them up with an HP ProBook 4530. I knew it was a nice unit but was really surprised when I got it on hand. There was a really neat design surprise.

My client had expressed interest in adding some more memory to the ProBook so I decided to look into how to do the install. Turned the notebook over and couldn't find any entry point into the chassis.

This of course got me interested. A quick Google search revealed the elegant answer.

First remove the battery

But then there's no obvious way in. But a quick push of the battery latches past the battery release point and surprise!

The entire bottom cover pops forward and lifts off. Nearly all the most frequently serviced parts were right there in the open: hard drive, memory, wireless nic, etc.

Very simple. It made me wish that this kind of design had been around 8 years ago when I was disassembling dozens of laptops each month.

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Service to Country

First, I highly recommend that you take a short while a watch this excellent TED talk given by Jennifer Pahlka.

Many people think of service to county as something you do by joining a branch of the military or getting yourself elected to an office. Those are certainly worthy services but the opportunities are broader than that.

When I started out in IT I was working in a small sales and service shop. Fast paced, close contact with the customer, very service oriented. I learned first hand what customer service meant and how much my work impacted the people who paid for it.

Then I moved on to public sector. I discovered an organization that was purely service. The whole thing is dedicated to providing service to customers. This crystalized what service meant to me. It was a truly fascinating discovery. Up to that point, government had always seemed like a black box that created unneeded rules and forced people to pay for its existence.

A number of years later I am still in public sector despite dipping my toes in the private sector job search from time to time. I know that my private sector colleagues with similar experience and training make 50-75% more than me. Their organizations stay closer to the cutting edge of technology. I'd be lying if I said I wasn't a little envious. I continue in the work I do because I see that the service I provide is making a difference in the communities I live in. I am a service provider to the people who provide services to our constituents. It is some of the most rewarding work I have ever done.

Ms. Pahlka's talk gets to the heart of why I've stuck it out in public sector: this is an exciting time in government, especially at the local level. There are huge fundamental shifts happening right now and some amazing opportunities for change. The missing ingredient is YOU!

What we need is even more talented people to taking up the torch of service. I would love to see more young and creative technologists getting involved and solving the really cool problems waiting for solutions. Don't ignore the call to service. You can make a difference!

Friday, March 9, 2012

Apple Entering My Enterprise

Well, its happened. An Apple device is approved for use in my enterprise environment. It passed our compatibility testing with our remote access and now is on our list of approved (and recommended) devices.

Our users were busting down our doors asking for tablets. They still don't know what a tablet is for but I can see some usefulness for some business cases. When it came to deciding whether to recommend a specific Android device or the iPad my recommendation to my boss was the Apple device.

Basically it comes down the the fact that Apple offers ONE device. There's no surprises. Just the exact same device with more storage or different networking options. It just works, its simple, and the ease of use is undeniable.

People have been giving Apple accolades for ages for the "it just works" design. I think the real advantage to the enterprise is the uniformity and predictability of the product. No need to support a fragmented product line that changes daily. An iPad is an iPad. Simple.

Plus, with virtualization and application streaming who cares that its an Apple. Its just a delivery platform in the end.

Friday, March 2, 2012

People Who Need People

Spent the day at the Mall of America with my family today. We took a mid afternoon snack break with an ice cream treat overlooking the amusement park rides. It was a lovely 20 minutes with the kids and a great chance to people watch.

The diversity and variation in the people we have on Earth is amazing;  We are a truly beautiful, strange species. I love it.