Lexicon Systems, LLC Blog

lex'•i•con: the vocabulary of a branch of knowledge. Thoughts on environment, health & safety (EHS), sustainability and information technology to support them.


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How to build compelling mobile enterprise apps

Enterprise software usability and adoption remains a concern; we are so used to clean and simple mobile consumer apps, that we expect the same usability and performance from enterprise apps.

CIO Senior Writer Sarah White presents good practices for building compelling mobile enterprise applications in How to create enterprise apps employees will actually use. Getting IT on Board and engaging end-users are perhaps the two most important points.

Credit: mobile phone apps image designed by Freepik.

 

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Microsoft Pulls Plug on Windows XP Support

Just last week—08 April 2014—Microsoft stopped supporting the tremendously popular Windows XP operating system. They will provide security updates/patches for another fifteen months, through July 2015.

Loyal XP users need to decide if “I’d rather fight than switch” or “I’d rather switch than fight…” and they need to decide soon, since upgrades in large organizations can take 12-18 months.

pull-the-plug-square

Windows XP Sails into the Sunset… Maybe speaks to the impacts and unintended consequences of the long-announced end of support.

End of support impacts millions of users. Where does that leave the millions of business and consumer users still on that operating system? Will they fight upgrading to Windows 8.1, or switch to an alternative operating system. What challenges will people face when upgrading to a new OS?

End of support has unintended consequences. First, it resulted in a resurgence in Windows 7 laptop sales and Windows 7 OS upgrades. Second, it resulted in the purchase of Windows-alternative hardware and software. End of support gives organizations a reason to evaluate whether they need laptops into the future, or if other technologies (cloud, mobile, and social) are better alternatives.


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Too much email? This company offers a solution…

Has email taken over your life? Do you have so many email accounts, and receive so many messages that it seems you spend all day on email? Do you wish that it would all stop?

The average person receives over 100 emails a day, and many people in large organizations receive many more than that.

As the author of an IT column–and this blog–I read lots of tech publications and blogs. This takes me in interesting directions. A couple of days ago I read about SaneBox, an application that claims to help users save hours each week normally spent sifting through hundreds of Inbox messages.

laptop with email spilling out of mail slotSaneBox triages incoming emails into three folders:

Inbox – important 

BlackHole – spam – junk mail

Later – bacn – read later

What’s intriguing is that SaneBox takes a first stab at what goes into each of these three folders. Then you review SaneBox’s choices and “train” the application if you want to move emails from certain senders elsewhere. This is something that none of my email client apps can do. In MS Outlook, I can make rules, but it would be time-consuming to create a new rule each time I receive email from a new contact. In Apple mail and with Web versions of most common email providers, rules don’t exist.

SaneBox works with Google Apps, Microsoft Exchange, IBM Notes (fka Lotus Notes) and IMAP email accounts. By default, the application adds two new folders (@SaneBlackHole and @SaneLater), and you can add a couple more–but start with the default to keep things simple.

This is a subscription service. You can register for a free 14-day trial and $5 in SaneBox credit if you click here.

Email is here to stay, at least for a while.

Since email is here to stay, at least for the immediate future, it may be worth your time to  look at this application.


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Metrics matter in Google vs. Apple market leader competition

Perhaps the greatest tech rivalry of the 20th century was Oracle (Larry Ellison) vs. Microsoft (Bill Gates). Fast forward to 2014, with Google and Apple in hot competition for market leadership. 

200px-Apple_logo_black

Image: Apple

Image: Google

Image: Google

Like Oracle (enterprise database software) and Microsoft (operating system, desktop and server software and PCs), Google and Apple started in different market niches. Today, their two markets overlap.

  • Google’s Android OS and hardware overlap Apple’s OSX and iOS operating systems.
  • Both companies are smartphone and tablet market leaders, with Google Android sales surpassing Apple iOS sales for the first time in late 2013.
  • Together, the two companies offer one million-plus applications through Google Play, iTunes and the Mac Apps Store.
  • Both companies offer “wearable tech.”
  • Google and Apple both grow organically and through acquisition. Notable Google acquisitions include Android, YouTube, Picasa and Motorola Mobility; notable Apple acquisitions include iOS, iWorks, TouchID and Maps software.

So, who wins the competition? It depends upon which metrics you use. I prefer a combination of several. Read Apple vs. Google: The goliath deathmatch by the numbers 2014.


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The year of the tablet

Samsung Galaxy Note

Samsung Galaxy Note

It’s clear that 2012 was The Year of the Tablet with Android and iOS tablets creating market excitement for much of the year and Windows 8/RT creating excitement late in the year. Tablets extend BYOD (bring your own device) beyond smartphones in the business enterprise.

I have seen senior executives and mid-level managers tote tablets to meetings in lieu of notebook computers. In 2013, look for more pervasive tablet use as organizations begin to develop proprietary applications for 24/7, global connectivity. In 2013-2014, expect to find new business applications in the “app stores,” allowing tablets increase productivity and proving their value to businesses.

With the winter holidays a faint memory and 2012 coming to an end,

we wish you a happy, healthy and successful new year!


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TIME’s “top 10 tech gadgets” list for 2012 has pleasant surprises

Most of us are familiar with David Letterman’s “Top 10” lists, the “best-dressed” and “worst-dressed” lists, etc. Time magazine released its “Top 10 of Everything 2012 with a whopping 55 lists in numerous categories. Here’s their list of the top 10 tech gadgets for 2012:

  1. iPhone 5
  2. Nintendo Wii U
  3. Sony Cybershot RX100 camera
  4. Raspberry Pi Model B
  5. Lytro light field camera
  6. Apple Macbook Pro 15″ with Retina Display
  7. Microsoft Surface with Window RT
  8. Samsung Galaxy Note II
  9. Nest thermostat
  10. Simple TV

The list includes two of the best smartphones, a new tablet and a notebook with a stunning display–no surprise. What did surprise–and intrigue–me is the innovation and ingenuity in three items on the list:

  • Raspberry Pi

    Raspberry Pi is a $35 computer. Yes, you heard this correctly! It’s stripped down to bare essentials; all you need is a monitor, mouse and keyboard.

  • Lytro cameraThe Lytro camera captures the direction of light rays, as well as color and intensity, letting the user refocus photos after they’re taken. It’s by no means a pocket camera, but it is affordable. 
  • Nest thermostatThe Nest learning thermostat incorporates simple form and function, with a touch screen display. Former Apple employees designed it.

You can view all 55 TIME Top 10 of Everything lists here.