Monday, January 11, 2010

Android is to Google Apps and GMail as BlackBerry is to Microsoft Exchange

Forget the whole question of whether Android and BlackBerry can compete with the iPhone around apps. For the business user who primarily uses their smartphone for Mail, Calendar, Contacts, Tasks, the question is how easy it is to sync between phone and laptop. Unless RIM (BlackBerry) extricates itself from near monogamy with Microsoft and Microsoft Exchange servers, there's going to be a clear divide: if you have made the switch to Google Apps for Mail, Calendar, Contacts, Tasks, you're eventually going to make the switch to Android as well. IF you have a corporate IT department of some sort or use a hosted BlackBerry Enterprise Server, connecting your BlackBerry with your Mail, Calendar, Contacts, Tasks is quite easy. But if you're using Google for these applications, there is no easy and complete solution. Instead, you have to cobble together various components, including Google's sync tool and the special GMail application for BlackBerry. But if you switch to Android, setup and sync with your main business productivity applications couldn't be simpler. Hopefully BlackBerrys will soon be able to sync better with GMail. But if not, any ascendancy of Google Apps is going to eat away at BlackBerry sales. (Same point made by Fred Wilson, AVC.)

I can get a new phone through Verizon in a few months . . . about the same time Google's Nexus One will launch with Verizon . . .

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

@evernote definitely wins award for easiest Win 7 install

As noted in the previous post, I upgraded to Win 7 the other day. The upgrade from 32bit to 64 required a clean install so every program had to be reinstalled.

Evernote definitely wins the award for easiest install. Reason is that all your Evernote files are in sync between your computer and their cloud. Therefore, simple matter of just installing the new Evernote on the new clean drive and sucking down all your data from the cloud, organized just as it used to be.

Making use of Microsoft's new Mesh tool when switching computers or doing a clean install is also worthy of a mention. Any folders you have synced up to the cloud with Mesh can of course be dropped back down onto your computer. Different than Evernote is that you have to re-select the location of the folders on your computer which requires an extra step (I'm not suggesting Mesh should work like Evernote--different functionality).

Of course if one is using a Mac, none of these issues are relevant because upgrade paths have not required a clean install for a long time. Upgrading to a new Mac from an old one is just a matter of connecting the two with a cable and zipping everything from one computer to the other, programs as well as files.

Friday, January 1, 2010

New Years day Windows 7 64 bit conversion tale (not much to tell, fortunately)

Upgraded my Lenovo X61s to Windows 7 64 bit. Had to do a complete reinstall rather than a simple upgrade because I was running Vista 32 bit. Everything went smoothly. A few points that might be useful:

1. I went out and bought a new harddrive. The Lenovo makes it simply to replace the harddrive and BestBuy had a 320gB version running at 7,200 rpm for just over $100. Great preventative maintenance.

2. Installed Win 7 Pro on the new hard drive. Took a surprisingly short amount of time to do this. Closer to 30 minutes than an hour.

3. Installed Mozy and downloaded from my most recent Mozy backup the essential files I needed.

4. Installed my copy of Office 2007. Again, no issues.

5. Found, to my great surprise, that it was easy to reinstall all the programs I use. The only disks I needed were for Office. Other programs included:

Google Chrome
Google Picasa
QuickBooks 2010 (way faster than 2009)
Fasttrack Schedule
Adobe Acrobat
Adobe Dreamweaver
Microsoft Mesh
BlackBerry Desktop
and Evernote!

Only the Adobe products required deauthorization from the other computer, which is really just the other harddrive. Because I'd kept the old drive intact, it was a simple matter to switch it in again and reboot.

Still more files to take down from Mozy as needed but I think I'm good to go.

I had been quite happy with Vista, but Win 7 is so much faster on startup, shutdown and in operation.

Update: Quickbooks wasn't as easy as I'd thought. Of course I need to get a code from the company and you have to phone them for that. And of course they weren't open on Friday, January 1. And they aren't open weekends either. Adobe, as noted above and in contrast, simply lets you deactivate the previous version of the machine so that you can reactivate the software on the "new" machine. I guess Intuit likes that cost of a human touch.