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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What’s the best use for an iPad if you’re savvy with a laptop and smartphone?

When you get an iPad, you think, “Hey, I can replace my laptop with this small tablet!” 

Technology stack with overlapping functions

I look at my “technology stack,” and see a Windows 7 PC, a MacBook Pro, an iPad and an iPhone. These devices all help me get through my daily routine, with overlapping capabilities:

  • Read content
  • Read and compose email
  • Read and create documents, spreadsheets and presentations
  • Participate in social networks
  • Attend Web meetings
  • Visit Web sites
  • View photos and graphics.

Depending upon what I want to achieve, these four devices are not totally interchangeable.

I can use my smartphone to create a presentation, but anything but a simple presentation is best created on a laptop or tablet. I can sort through hundreds of emails on my tablet or smartphone, but must use a laptop for powerful sorting and cleanup. Likewise, I can create complex spreadsheets on the tablet, but likely would use my MacBook or PC with a keyboard and full functionality.

Rethinking the tablet

If you’re already quite comfortable with a laptop and a smartphone, and a tablet falls into your hands, what’s the best way to use it? Here’s an interesting perspective on the use of tablets, worth reading: Rethinking the iPad

My take—Tip #1: I DO use the iPad for mail and social apps; Tip #2: I use the iPad to catch up on reading; Tip #3: I turn off MOST notifications; Tip #4: I change SOME of the settings to improve battery life.

Let me hear how you use your tablet!

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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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Pcell technology boasts 1000x faster cellular connections

Pcell is a new communications technology that could make connections 1000 times as fast as 4G (fourth generation) or LTE (Long Term Evolution) cell communications. When implemented, pcell will work without the need for new handsets. Your 4G or LTE-capable smartphone will do just fine. And a pcell-capable smartphone could do even better.

The term “pcell” refers to “personal cell”–each user effectively has his/her personal communications cell. Advantages over current technologies abound… “Besides speed and signal strength, it uses a lot less power” and “pCell also brings significant reductions in the amount of infrastructure needed to power a cell network.” mobile phone

Artemis, the Steve Perlman company that developed the technology, plans an initial rollout in San Francisco in late 2014, with possible rollouts in other cellular markets by late 2015, though many large markets continue to build out their 4G LTE networks.

Read more here.


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Tech toys in the executive suite

Among the tech gadgets in executive suites, tablets rank third (78%) behind smartphones (84.8%) and laptop computers (82.6%). About 33% use mobile apps and 33% use the Cloud. Execs prefer iOS and Blackberry smartphones for personal use, though they have employees use Android and Blackberry devices more often (69%) than iPhones (54%). Source: CEO.com.

iPad ownership by CEOs and small business owners quadrupled in the last year (CEO.com)

Count me in! I use all of the top three technologies. As the proud owner of a 4th Generation iPad, I find it easy to use. Of course, having an iPhone and being familiar with iOs helps, though I find a new world of opportunities with the larger, iPad retina screen. The tablet format allows me to visualize much more data than I can using the same apps on my iPhone. Reading email and browsing the Internet are a pleasure. I can read documents, presentations, books and .PDFs with ease. The 10-hour battery life is a real plus.

Ultimately, my tablet will replace a somewhat heavy notebook computer for certain purposes. I am testing different  office and productivity apps and will see where this leads… the consumerization of  business continues.

You can view an infographic on CEO gadgets topic here.


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Planned obsolescence

Today I was reminded–again–of how things just don’t last the way they used to. We tried to repair a 2 1/2-year-old desktop computer that bit the dust. The extended warranty ran out at 2 years. So, it was back to the “big box” store to recycle yet another nonfunctional big ticket item.

Per Wikipedia, planned obsolescence is the concept of designing a product with a limited useful life, so that it will become obsolete after some time. This concept favors the manufacturer and stimulates the economy when consumers must purchase a new item to replace the obsolete one. Forms of planned obsolescence in the IT arena include

  • technical or functional obsolescence, where new technologies replace the old. Great examples are personal computers, software, hard drives and storage. A PC can last through about one operating system upgrade, or 3-4 years, before it lacks the speed and memory to run the latest software.
  • systemic obsolescence, where the product can no longer be maintained, and/or the manufacturer stops supporting it. With PCs, Microsoft will support Windows 2-3 versions back. When Windows 8 debuts this week, organizations and consumers will have a limited time to replace systems running Windows XP, which no longer will be supported a number of months from now.
  • obsolescence by depletion, where the product consumes a resource. All printers consume ink/toner, as well as items like print heads, belts and fusers. When my latest ink jet printer needed a set of four new print heads, it was less costly to buy a brand new one. I received a $50 credit for turning in an old printer, and got a replacement with new ink, new print heads and several technical refinements, including “e-printing” from smartphones and tablets and remote PCs.

Admittedly, the desktop computer did not fall neatly into any of these three categories–it simply stopped working, and a $100 1TB hard drive did not fix the problem. But it simply did not last even the 3-4 years we expected. At the same time, we have a fully functional computer that’s 13 years old. We upgraded the operating system a couple of times and installed a DVD drive years ago. It keeps on running.

 


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Must technology be so disruptive?

Disruptive technology describes a new technology that unexpectedly displaces an established technology. In The Innovator’s Dilemma, Clayton Christensen separates technology into two categories: sustaining and disruptive. Sustaining technology relies on incremental improvements to an already established technology. Disruptive technology lacks refinement, often has performance problems because it is new, appeals to a limited audience, and may not yet have a proven practical application.

Photo: Apple

When it comes to software, most businesses adapt better to the incremental changes of sustainable technology. They understand that change happens—software upgrades and patches occur fairly frequently and, in most cases, work goes on with no training and little disruption. However, major software changes can disrupt work, resulting in lost productivity until users are trained on and adopt the new technology.

Two examples of disruptive technology come from Apple and Microsoft. Apple announced its new iPhone last week, sporting a new dock connector. Those who wish to use their old iPhone and iPad chargers and cables need an expensive adapter. Microsoft radically changed its user interface in Windows 8. The Start button is gone. Some PC users I know are hardly adjusted to the big change in interface from Windows XP to Windows Vista and Windows 7.

I understand that disruptive technology—like microwave ovens and cell phones—can be both revolutionary and good. But must it be so disruptive?