September 6, 2011

I Want VDI

I should NOT find this video funny. I respect my superiors and think that everyone else should too.  Obviously, they are taking liberties and generalizing to make CIOs look dumb.  People do not get to the "C" level unless they are business savvy, network like a real estate agent, and navigate a political organization like Magellan.  It is not just the CIOs that want VDI, it is the server guys, the network guys, and even the desktop guys.

That being said, I cannot stop laughing.  For those that don't fear the corporate firewall or wear headphones here is a NSFW version

August 30, 2011

AppSense Reaction to Citrix's Acquisition of Ringcube

When Citrix announced it was acquiring Ringcube earlier this month it sent a bit of a shock wave through the industry as everyone struggled to figure out what this means for the other players in this space.  To my surprise, both AppSense and RES immediately weighed in.  Both have valid points as to how RingCube's vDesk really competes with their solutions but AppSense should receive extra humor points for embedding a self deprecating video on their site (see below).  By the way, if you are new to the whole Hitler YouTube meme--there is more where this comes from.

August 16, 2011

eChannelLine Interviews Wyse’s Bill Brandt interviews Michael Torian (@michaeltorian) from Wyse on the state of the industry at Microsoft’s Worldwide Partner Conference.

August 9, 2011

I’ve Been Everywhere with FourSquare

One my favorite features of the iPhone 4G is the GPS. I use the built-in Google Maps constantly while traveling and even in my home town. The uses don't stop there; I have used it to log a run (iMapMyRun iTunes), find my friends (Google Latitude iTunes), and to find places to hang out and eat (FourSquare iTunes).

FourSquare is certainly my favorite app because of the fun way it allows you to explore places, get feedback and tips, and unlock badges. FourSquare uses your phone's GPS to show you venues nearby. Users can “check-in” to venues to unlock specials (like a free drink I got last week at Quiznos) as well as earn quirky badges like “jetsetter” for someone who checks into five different airports. Check into the same place enough times in a sixty day period you can earn the coveted “Mayor” title.

FourSquare tip: if you see a tip you like while looking at a venue (i.e. try the smoked wings, fall off the bone goodness), tap on it and tap Add To-Do. You can view your to-dos by how recently you entered them or by a map showing the closest ones (my favorite feature).

Recently, I had a good stretch of travel that took me to both coasts as well as a road trip across the Midwest. FourSquare was my app of choice to find coffee, places to eat, and even grab a drink. The image below shows my last 150 check-ins on a Google Map. Make your own map by following the instructions shown on

The title alludes to the Man in Black and here he is for your listening enjoyment.

August 2, 2011

To iPad or not to iPad

To iPad or not to iPad, that is the question.

I’ve been a pretty big proponent of mobile devices for many years now. I jumped into e-mail on a phone early on. I pushed the limits of the early laptops to disconnect from my desk as often as possible. Now with tablets, I have been one of the many saying “tablets everywhere!” Recently I spent nearly a month sitting everyday in a hospital going between the waiting room and speaking with the doctors in ICU around my mother in-law’s health scare. In addition to the many hours of time freed up to ponder the universe it put me in a perfect position to consider the impact of mobility in healthcare from a patients perspective.

Would a tablet or other mobile device help or hurt the care my mother in-law was receiving?

Without going into too much detail, the biggest issue in my mother in-law’s case was getting the right information into the attending medical professionals hands. At all times the chart was available no more than 5 feet away at the computer in the hallway of the ICU. However, the second the doctor stepped out of the room he or she would be pulled into something else, so we never wanted them to leave the room. Unfortunately this also meant that we would be explaining the situation to each new doctor or nurse at shift change and whenever a specialist arrived. Given the rarity of what she was dealing with there simply wasn’t any standard protocol to follow.

That’s all well and good, but how does a tablet really help here? Healthcare has a large push industry wide around LEAN improvement. One of the tenants of this is spending more time with the patient and less time dealing with non-patient business. In my family member’s case, this would mean finding a way to spend more quality time in the room and less time pulling up information. In all those hours of patiently waiting for a resolution, I decided I desperately wanted this hospital to embark on a mobility solution for their care givers. I imagined the doctor of the day being able to simply pull up my mother in-law’s chart while we were in the room and make notes regarding her condition. Two hours later when the specialist or the next shift came on, he or she would instantly have all of this information at their fingertips as well. No more sitting at a computer to start the shift and hoping to remember the details about each patient. Less confusion, less stress on the family trying to educate each doctor all the time, and most importantly more time in the room with the patient where doctors need to be.

The concept of mobility in the hospital setting isn’t anything new or earth shattering anymore. I have been a proponent of it for years to be truthful. But this was the first time that I saw up close and personal the impact it can really have in a life or death situation. Hospitals can increase the time doctors are spending with patients, increase the ability of those doctors to have accurate information at their fingertips, decrease the chances for misdiagnosis, increase the number of patients a doctor can see in a given day, increase patient satisfaction, and most importantly increase the quality of care patients receive.

June 27, 2011

Synergy 2011

Last month I attended Citrix Summit / Synergy  in San Francisco.  It was a fast paced week of tech sessions, meeting Citrites and drinking the Citrix Kool-Aid.

A typical day started at 8:00 and included sessions, a keynote, and more sessions before finishing around 8:00 at night.  The hands-on learning labs were worth the price of admission. I got hands-on with previews of XenApp, XenClient, and Provisioning Server.  All of the products have great things in the works.

A central theme across the product line was image management.  Administrators care about image management because we spend an inordinate amount of our day patching, updating, and testing both desktops and servers.  Citrix seems to understand the importance of streamlining images and more importantly, --controlling those versions.  Image management left unchecked can result in excessive storage consumption as well as confusion when rolling back an update.  This point is equally important for local or hosted desktops as well as server images.  What if we could use the same process to update (or rollback) servers and desktops?  That would truly be a nirvana that administrators have been dreaming of for years.

Highlights from the conference:
  • “Start with Why” - Mark T showed a portion of Simon Sinek’s TEDx talk during his keynote.  It has a simple premise, why do people or companies do what they do?  He goes into a discussion on Martin Luther King Jr., Apple, and the Wright brothers.  I think the whole thing is brilliant.
  • SYN348: Getting from “Wow to How”, Part 4 – Design and deliver a delightful virtual desktop experience.  Dan Allen and Mike Schaeffer discuss the importance of the user’s experience.

  • SYN349: Getting from “Wow to How”, Part 5 – Lessons learned on the desktop transformation frontier.  Nick Rintalan and Thomas Berger do a great job pointing out the pitfalls of virtual desktop implementations. 

  • GroupMe – It is a free group messaging service / app that was extremely useful in spreading the word on good and bad sessions and a hilarious distraction during windy keynotes.  Trust me, this app is going to be a big deal.  Find more information on their site or get the app from or Android Market.
  • There was time for fun that week.  Train did an admirable job of playing to a 99% dude crowd—something that they probably aren’t used to.  At one point in the show, the lead singer said he needed to get about six pretty ladies on stage to which he quickly remarked, “I think we can do this…”.  Grab their new album, “Save Me San Francisco”,

June 14, 2011

Boldly Go

I am not supposed to talk much about this month’s project but let’s just say it deals with some awesome  technology that boldly goes where no man has gone before.  Obviously, security in this type of environment is  important and taken seriously.  At one point, we had to halt our work because we noticed a bundle of new cables had red tape around them.  We weren't sure if the color of the tape was indicative of security or nothing so we worked around it for a few days until we got the confirmation that the tape just happened to be red.  As a consultant, I have worked in many companies that have varying levels of bureaucracy but this is the first time I have been stopped by literal red tape.

The term mission critical gets thrown around a lot in IT circles but I have a new respect for what it can really mean and accomplish.  Everyone on this project has been motivated, committed, and a pleasure to work with.  There is a lot of camaraderie throughout the organization that likely comes from such a highly visible and inspired goal.  I’m truly going to be disappointed to wrap this project up.

May 23, 2011

Upgrading MS-DOS to Windows 7

I recently ran across a video that shows the upgrade process from MS-DOS all the way to Windows 7, stopping along the way to run a couple of classic games: Doom2 and Monkey Island using the original install files. It’s nothing short of amazing that it can be done. Watching the video was a bit like watching my computer life flash before my eyes.

It got me thinking about backwards compatibility which may be one of Microsoft’s greatest achievements. The fact that you can play a 17 year old game on Windows 7 is neat and fun but also speaks volumes about Microsoft's commitment to running legacy software. This commitment has made life infinitely easier for developers but often more difficult for system administrators who get tasked with deploying ancient software.

My coworker is currently fighting with an app that was written in 1996 and is not enterprise-ready. I’m confident he’ll find a way to deploy it and get users the information they need but it may take some time. Looking through thirty years of rear-view mirror, an environment that makes life easy for developers and users while guaranteeing system administrators employment may be the perfect balance after all.

Watch the video

May 14, 2011

Citrix eDocs and Amazon Kindle

I’ve only had a Kindle (3rd gen Wi-Fi) since Christmas but I already love it.   It holds a ton of books, the battery lasts for weeks, and I can use it even when sitting in coach.  Last week I discovered a new use, when you link up the Kindle with your Amazon account it will assign you a couple of email addresses.  The addresses can be used to email content wirelessly to the device.

This feature opens up a lot of possibilities.  One of the most useful has been exporting PDFs from Citrix’s eDocs site ( and then sending them to the Kindle for future reading.  Citrix eDocs is basically a hierarchical listing of product guides.  At any point in the tree you can click on the PDF button and it will generate a document that you can print or save.  Email that PDF to your Kindle’s special email address to take it anywhere.

What are you putting on your Kindle?

March 18, 2011

It feels like summer

It has been a busy couple of months at the office.  A lot of work has gone into the backend of the site.  The layout is gradually getting to where it needs to be.  Mostly, we have also been talking to people in the industry about what they would like to read about.  Topics like app, server, and desktop virtualization keep getting brought up.

We have even lined up our first feature contributor (announcement coming soon).  Are you interested in an enterprise IT topic? Please drop us a comment with your suggestion.

January 28, 2011

Coming Soon

Announcing a new platform for enterprise IT professionals to share unique solutions and give back to the community.

Check back summer 2011 for more details.