Cloud liberation.

Yesterday I got reconnected to an old associate  Munem Alidina via LinkedIn.  Few years ago Munem and I  worked together on an  IT transformation initiative.  During that period we had many interesting discussions on adoption of emerging technology in enterprise.  Continuing the past tradition, Munem in his message made an interesting observation. “….. I also happened to read your posting on the Google laptop, which filled me with jealousy as a fellow “cloud liberated soul”. You must post more!… …. I did recently attend a Gartner conference in London that devoted a lot of discussion to cloud. Fascinating paradigm. ..it’s probably a few years before this is seriously adopted by many corporations. Lot’s of more basic challenges to tackle before then. .”   It is true, though there is lot of  talk about cloud, there are not as many “liberated” . 

The  Chromebook has finally liberated me to the cloud.   Apart from few retreats to Windows on a  desktop, I have been  living  on cloud for most of my computing.  Chrome File Manager is not all that user friendly.  This has been blessings in disguise.  It broke my habit of saving anything locally.  I like Chromebook’s light weight, long battery life, quick on/off  and feather touch key board.  But it is not my only computing device.  I find the Cromebook  very handy to take to  group meetings where I am both creating and consuming information content . On other hand, with its  small size, ease of use, crisp image and great sound quality  Xoom  wins to be  my favorite device for consuming content such web browsing, or social computing. I keep Xoom handy  while  watching TV at home, enjoying coffee in a coffee houses or in book stores while browsing new books.  It is a great device for consumption and brief typing. The tablet computer are ideal  in trade conferences, conventions and during air travel, where you can browse related content, take pictures and engage in social media.

Good old Windows PC and/or  VDI terminal is still the best place to use legacy applications.  Even the smart phones have become sort of legacy.  I have observed that my phone usage has gone down. I only use it for answering voice calls, sending SMS and quick pick at e-mails.  This is an interesting transformation. Just about couple years ago I was hoping that I could do all my computing on Blackberry Bold.  With the luxury of multiple devices at disposal, I have started appreciating use of dual screens in remote collaboration session.  Having one screen for audio/video communications and other for collaboration can improve working with remote team members across the oceans. It is very common for me to use Xoom tablet with  Google Voice and Video Chat  and  the chrome book with Google Docs when I am working with my team members.  PC Desktop, Chromebook, Xoom or Blackberry, the cloud apps behave more or less same.  As long as you save the files in the cloud, you have  easy  access to the documents and data.

Device diversity is not the only thing that has helped us in the liberation to the cloud.  The wide variety and range of cloud based service that are available now can serve your need for every occasion. For example, I use  evernote  for most of the personal notes taking and document management. Having access to all my meeting note n any computer is  priceless. Then there is mindjet Catalyst for brainstorming and mind mapping. One can organize all the finances with Mint.com practically any where on any device.  And of course, Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and Google + help me stay connected.  Yet the true tipping point for me was the adoption of Google Apps.  When we switched from Lotus Notes to Google Apps, community of ten thousand plus people with whom I communicate most also moved to cloud.

I guess, journey towards cloud liberation can be done alone, but it is easier to be done with friends, family and coworkers.    

The WordPress.com Blog

November marks the beginning of National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo), a project in which thousands of writers around the world work toward completing a 50,000-word novel by November 30th. Sound like something you want to get in on?

Whoa. That’s 1,667 words per day. I’m not ready for that!

We hear you — writing a whole novel is a pretty big undertaking. So why not gear up for the project by starting the WordPress.com Post a Day Challenge this October? It’s a great way to meet others in the WordPress.com community, including writers who have completed NaNoWriMo in the past.

At The Daily Post, home of the Post a Day Challenge, we provide creative inspiration each and every day. You can also find tons of writing prompts at Plinky.com, so you never have to worry about running out of ideas. Participating in Post a Day is…

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Chromebook in Enterprise – Part I

Last week when I walked in the office on Tuesday morning, I saw a small  brown box sitting on my desk with a yellow sticky note – “Here is your Chromebook for the road test”.  Then and there I knew that I may have brief separation from my trusted Windows laptop for at least for next few weeks.  I like give new end user computing devices what I call the ultimate test of usability.  I make it my  only computing device for 2-3 weeks. This gives me all the information I need to draw a profile of end users that will be able to adopt the device and how to reconfiguration of IT support services to support those users.  Chromebook is Google’s version of a true Cloud Client that is based on Chrome OS. That boasts to do nothing but Web.  You can turn it on instantaneously –  within 8 seconds – and start running your cloud based applications.  It is always connected either by Wi-Fi or by pay as you go 3G connectivity with Verizon. With its all day battery life, you do not have to lug your power supply with you. With its minimal os software and built in security, one does  not elaborate patching cycles .  Google is aiming at enterprise market, and hoping to replace a large portion of Windows desktops and laptops.  Google claims that it will improve end user productivity (therefore satisfaction) and reduce total cost of ownership. Validation of this for our company starts with me

The chromebook may not make sense for people who use locally stored application,  but I am one of those Cloud-liberated souls,  almost everything I do is in cloud.  Majority of my time is spent on cloud based applications, Google Apps,  Evernote, Oracle CRM-on-Demand,  Concur etc.  Even most of the enterprise applications that I use such as Peoplesoft HCM are web based.  That mean for most of the time, I should be able to use the Chromebook.  I understand from my Google contacts that a HTML5  based VmView client is expected to be released soon.  Once released, I should be able to use Chromebook use for all my need.  Next couple weeks should help me prove this theory.

The device I am testing is Google CR-48, the Chromebook prototype by Google.  The box had only three items power supply, battery and Chromebook.   The unit is  nice and slim, unit about 3.8 lbs. That is  a good load lesser than my 5.3 lbs Dell D630.  I snapped in the battery and powered on the unit. Within less than 3 minutes, the Chormebook was ready to serve me.  This is where I faced my first problem. The Chrome OS and our corporate NAC were playing chicken and egg game of security clearance.  I decided to try later at home.  In the evening at home,  things went much easier. It detected my the network  and I was able to set up the security information for completing the secure access.  Setting up of the Verizon was also very easy.  Within about 15 minutes I was connected.  Rest of last week I have been using the CR-48 along with my Laptop and Xoom tablet. I even took it on road trip and used in one of my presentations by connecting it to the overhead projector.

After few days of significant use, I am getting used to my CR-48. The screen is nice, crisp and easy to read.  The Keyboard layout is somewhat different than standard PC. Typing without DEL or CAPS LOCK keys is bit annoying but one can get used to it.  And yes,  it does boot in about 8 seconds. I was able to log in to both of my  Google accounts ( Work, personal ) in two different tabs. I also downloaded few apps including the “Angry Birds” (and it works offline therefore great for plane rides.).

This week will be more serious test for my Chromebook. I will be taking it every place I would have taken my laptop.  The VM View client is not yet available for Chrome OS so I do expect some challenges.  I would share those with you in next week.

Experiments in IT Management.

“There is no abstract art.  You must always start with something.  Afterward you can remove all traces of reality.”
Pablo Picasso

Few months ago I started my blog on my sand box site.  I had no idea what I was going to blog about.  Today there are several incomplete draft waiting to be finished.  There are so many different topics I want to write about but publishing them on same  blogging site did not make sense.  Some segmentation was needed, therefore I have decide to publish “Kiran Vedak’s Labnotes – experiments in IT management. 

The blogs in this site will be exclusively devoted to topics in IT management.  It will be a reflection of my  last 30 + years as an IT manager.  Transitioning from an educator and research scientist has its perks.  One gets in habit of treating everything one does in to an experiment.   The outcomes of the experiments become material for classroom.  Initially the blogs will be divided in following categories:

  • IT management – topic on running effective IT department,
  • IT sourcing – art of building a harmonious ecosystem of IT consumers and providers and topic ranging cloud sourcing to crowd sourcing.
  • Cloud computing – private, public and hybrid cloud as platform for IT as a Service.
  •  New trends and tools

I have imported few of older articles to get us started.  Hope you will enjoy them and participate in the discussions on the topics covered in the blogs.