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.

microsoft-surface-pro-3

Photo: Microsoft

On 20 May, Microsoft launched its Surface Pro 3 tablet. They call it ” the tablet that can replace your laptop.” The lightweight, Windows 8.x tablet boasts a 12-inch screen. It has a sleek design and long battery life. Prices range from $799 for the 64 GB 4th-Gen Intel i3 model to $1949 for a 512 GB i7 model. Keyboards, adapters, etc. are optional, at extra cost. This price point puts the Surface Pro 3 in the mix with Ultrabooks, MacBooks and lightweight hybrid/convertible notebook computers.

Tech blogs are critical of the new tablet’s foray into the enterprise business market, citing the Windows 8.x operating system, design, user experience and cost as the main detractors. As mentioned in an recent blog post, enterprise IT departments prefer Windows 7 to Windows 8.x, and many saw Windows XP end of support as an opportunity to explore new hardware and operating systems like Google Chrome and Mac OSX.

“eWeek suggested, “buy the MacBook Air instead.”

The jury’s still out. Let’s see if the Surface Pro 3 catches on. You can view the full specs on the Microsoft Web site here and read an eWeek product review here.

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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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Windows XP support ending soon

Microsoft stops support for the Windows XP operating system (OS) early in April, and stops support for the associated malware software in July. Despite Microsoft’s warnings to update from Windows XP to Windows 8.1 before “end of support,” many large organizations continue to use the almost 13-year-old computer operating system. It is the most popular OS next to Windows 7. And some companies will switch to Windows 7 rather than Windows 8.x.

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Image: Microsoft

Companies can

  1. continue to use Windows XP and later change to another OS;
  2. upgrade to Windows 7 or Windows 8.1; or
  3. upgrade to an OS such as Chrome OS, Mac OSX Mavericks or Android.

Windows XP end of support allows an opportunity to evaluate how IT needs have changed in the last 13 years. Organizations can decide which new technologies—hardware, operating systems, mobile, Cloud and Big Data—will work best for them.

The next “IT Insight” column, Windows XP sails into the sunset… maybeappears in em Magazine on April 1. Check back here or on our web site early in April for a link to the column.


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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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Gartner lists top 10 strategic technology trends for 2013

At its Symposium IT Expo in Orlando this week, Gartner analyst David Cappuccio laid out 10 critical tech trends and technologies for the next 5 years.

Cappuccio said that in the last minute, people sent 204 million emails, listened to 61,000 hours of music Pandora, viewed 20 million photos and uploaded 3 million uploads to Flickr,  sent 100,000 tweets, viewed 6 million Facebook posts, logged in to 277,000 Facebook accounts, and performed 2 million plus Google searches.

The trends clearly point to Mobile, Cloud and Internet. In fact, they capture 5 of the top 10 spots for next year. The top 10 strategic technology trends for 2013 are:

  1. Mobile devices battles. In 2013 more people will access the Internet by mobile device than by PC.
  2. Mobile applications and HTML5. JavaScript and HTML5 will become the mainstream app development environment.
  3. Personal Cloud. The Cloud and Cloud services will become more important with increased use and the need to sync several mobile devices.
  4. Internet of things. An increased number of “things” with sensors will connect to the Internet.
  5. Hybrid IT and Cloud computing. The trend towards increasing information managed in hybrid and Cloud applications allows IT departments to take on a coordination role.
  6. Strategic big data. To make strategic decisions, organizations need to aggregate and analyze data from multiple internal and external sources. This differs from the single data warehouse approach.
  7. Actionable analytics. Big data and analytics meet in the Cloud to allow rapid analysis and simulations. People will be able to conduct analysis via mobile devices.
  8. Mainstream in-memory computing. Increased memory capability can improve performance and decrease response time. New software will take advantage of memory capabilities and will allow self-service analytics.
  9. Integrated ecosystems. Software and services will be packaged as “appliances” to address infrastructure or application workload.
  10. Enterprise app stores. Organizations will deliver business applications through private app stores.


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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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Should the enterprise upgrade to Windows 7 or Windows 8?

Organizations currently running Microsoft Windows XP need to do something, as support for this operating system (OS) ends in about 18 months.

“…enterprises using Windows XP …are entering a danger zone as all support for the OS will end in April 2014. Moving to a new OS for a large organization takes up resources, money and time, and according to Gartner, XP users will run out of time if they don’t act now.”

Source: Microsoft

Should they wait for Windows 8 to be released, or upgrade to Windows 7? A new Gartner report says that enterprises currently running Windows XP should upgrade to Windows 7, not Windows 8 (scheduled for release this month). Windows 8 has a total user interface redesign that will make user adoption a challenge for those who resist change.

When Microsoft releases Windows 8 to market, it will not be mature–many organizations wait until the first or second service pack is available–which could take a year. Gartner advises organizations to start upgrading to Windows 7 as soon as possible. Read more at shar.es/5HXRw.