April 9, 2019 Albany Zeno

Do you remember sitting in your kindergarten class looking at the evolution of man poster where the being on the left is small and hunched over and over time it begins to gradually straighten out?  Today, the silhouette resembles the bars on your wireless device, and it made me think of my graveyard of old devices I have accumulated through the years. I had a pager and a rolodex and a roll of quarters to use for the nearby payphone – or the other one across the street, or the other one on the next corner – just in case there was a line. At one point, there was a need for such devices. We adapted, even if the cost of a Walkman was too high, we waited for the CD Player to come out and purchased the Walkman on sale. Our lifestyle demanded that things become more convenient and the ability to consume become seamless. Today, we are beginning to see the combination of 2 highly consumable products – Wireless and Computer/IT. At home, I still have a Laptop – but in my pocket I have a device that has the compute power of my laptop almost rendering my laptop useless. The tablet is the club that konks  the PC on its head for good – if you are not a gamer (who is the lifeline of this product).

Just take a look at how we consumed music; single-45, 8 track, cassette tape, cd, mp3, mpeG4, mp5, cloud subscripted service – iTunes/Spotify/Pandora. I went from a portable device that held 8 songs to 18,000 songs and if I’m connected to the cloud, potentially any song I wish to hear is at my disposal. So I ask myself, this cant be the final stop – can it? If not, then what – Personal Cloud/Custom Cloud Connect… no way – Yes way! API’s are already available for many applications to connect to. Some, already have personal servers were content is shared publicly and depending on your interests such as gaming, music, TV shows, movies, etc. you can customize and host a platform that you can access anytime virtually anywhere – for free or very low cost.  Raspberry Pi has made it easy and affordable to make this happen and may be the next device that gets added to the technological evolution chart, but it requires something new on our end to make it work for your specific needs – Programming.

Programming is becoming less intimidating as users can go to sites like YouTube to get step by step instructions to build your own network or add an existing applications like Kodi or Terrarium to a streaming device that you can plug in and connect to Wi-Fi.

As users become more frustrated and feel taken advantage of as new devices with new features roll out without the availability to upgrade the old device, people will look to customize on their own and making it easy for a user to customize will be the next evolution point for the future.

  • What is the Raspberry Pi? A credit card-sized computer that costs as little as $5, which spawned a community of millions of amateur developers and hardware hackers.
  • What does the Raspberry Pi do? A lot. Despite its low-cost, the Pi can be run as no-frills PC, a pocketable coding computer, a hub for homemade hardware and more.
  • Why does the Raspberry Pi matter? The Pi is a great machine for stoking interest in programming among schoolchildren worldwide and helping create the next generation of developers.

 

Sources:

https://www.techrepublic.com/article/raspberry-pi-the-smart-persons-guide/

https://www.zdnet.com/article/what-is-the-raspberry-pi-3-everything-you-need-to-know-about-the-tiny-low-cost-computer/

 

September 20, 2016 Nick Kozak

As remote workers become more and more prevalent in today’s workforce, cloud collaboration technology becomes more essential to doing business. There are two market trends that enable success in managing and communicating with a remote worker. First, VPN is becoming less and less intrusive and more user friendly. For example, leveraging a Cisco ASA with updated AnyConnect licenses and a Cisco phone allows devices to operate without a secure VPN connection on a fully supported Cisco deployment. Also, using VPN-less Jabber allows remote employees to work anywhere there is sufficient wireless/4G signal. You can be anywhere in the world and if you have connectivity, you can be reached on a desk phone number. Second, accessing files and systems from the Cloud is relatively painless as long as the workbook/pc is properly configured and managed. Clouds and applications have robust interfaces that enable easy access no matter where the location.

Leveraging VPN-less Jabber and Cisco phones without VPN at remote sites requires version 10 or higher of Cisco Call Manager. Organizations with outdated Cisco Call Managers should implement virtualization, as it will be the last time in the foreseeable future they will have to worry about the hardware supporting their Call Manager.

With the remote worker on the rise, companies need to be attractive to not only their current workforce, but also the workforces of the future. Remote Workers and Call Managers are going to go hand in hand as the technology that supports the dial tone on your phone continues to be layered with other feature sets and offerings. Mobile devices and tablets will continue to augment the workday and carry more operational value. By strengthening the work force through empowering these devices, the overall organization is improved.

February 12, 2016 Jim Brice

There was a time when technicians had to don a white lab coat in order to even be allowed to enter the datacenter.  It was kept meat-locker cold so the multi-million dollar machines would not cook. Entire teams of people were required to keep the operation running including HVAC technicians, power technicians, tape operators, console operators, Service Engineers from the various equipment manufacturers, and more.  Fast forward 30 years and you don’t have to look far to find similar rooms still in use at most companies.  What has changed is that many of these rooms are only sparsely filled, and many companies have chosen to eliminate the data center space altogether.

As with most evolving technologies, refinement, specialization, and consolidation have completely changed the landscape.  Powerhouses like Apple, Google, Microsoft and Amazon have built acre-sized buildings packed with enough capacity to cover the computing needs of practically everyone on the planet.  This is really good for the consumer who can easily gain access to nearly unlimited capacity for their personal files, photos, and email.  It also means cheap capacity for any organization willing to figure out how to run their applications in this plethora of capacity known collectively as ’the cloud.’ Great, right?  Well, that depends on how you go about making use of this cloud.

Some providers like Amazon Web Services will let you commit to a very small footprint and price, and allow your needs to grow ‘elastically’ as needed, paying only for what you use.  This elasticity stings when it snaps back at you, if your applications utilize more resources that you expected they would.  Other providers let you contract specific capacities, but make it difficult to shrink if you ever need to. Still others require that you use their software stack exclusively.  It is enough to make your head foggy when contemplating the cloud.  Then, there are the small and mid-tier cloud providers who will sell you ‘blocks’ of virtual machine capacity measured in ram, disk, and GHz of processor capacity.  There’s a lot of overlap in this business, so don’t be surprised if your mid-tier provider is offering you VMware capacity that is actually running in an Amazon datacenter. Virtualization makes some very peculiar things possible. This is not a bad thing, for business or the planet. Those acre datacenter buildings are extremely modern, efficient and secure. Very little is allowed to go to waste in such an environment.

So how is one supposed to figure out how to navigate this cloud thing?  My advice is simple: start with a trusted partner who deals with these questions every day. MNJ Technologies sales and technical staff have decades of experience designing, deploying and servicing technology solutions whether they are provided directly by us, or through one of our many industry-leading partnerships.  Our goal is to match your needs to the best possible solution.