"UniFi is the revolutionary Wi-Fi system that combines Enterprise performance, unlimited scalability, a central management controller and disruptive pricing." That's the pitch thrown by Ubiquiti Networks right off the homepage for their popular UniFi line of wireless access point products. In many respects, that statement is right on the money.
But as the old adage goes, sometimes you truly do get what you pay for. And when it comes to UniFi, that tends to be my feeling more and more, seeing the gotchas we have had to deal with. We've continued to choose their access points, primarily in situations where cost is a large factor for our end customer. Who wouldn't want Enterprise level features at a Linksys level price?
If there's one common request I get from readers via email, it's that they want an updated deep dive on my thoughts regarding the whole Office 365 vs Google Apps debate. It's a topic I've written about on numerous occasions in the past -- dissecting the facts, wading through the FUD, and piecing together my honest opinion on who comes out on top.
But it has been years since I dove into the crux of the debate, honing in on why one suite beats another in the important aspects that set them apart. And in the world of IT, years is an eternity.
As someone who is always on the prowl for new podcast material to enjoy, I recently came across one which is hosted by a name familiar to many in the States. Joe Rogan -- currently best known for being lead color commentator on most large UFC PPV events -- doubles as someone who hosts an interesting podcast under the simple guise of "The Joe Rogan Experience."
Specifically, episode 680 of his podcast showed up on my phone today, and it featured a lengthy discussion with a Steve Hassan on the intriguing topic of cults. Hassan is a mental health counselor who has personal experience with cult entrapment, as he was once a member of the Moonies. He dove into a variety of areas surrounding cults and their characteristics with Joe, and if interested, I recommend listening to his appearance on JRE 680. The real reason I plugged Joe's show is because during the episode with Hassan, the relevant topic of Apple naturally arose at one point. The question at large was thrown out in the wild. Is Apple and its following a cult?
Pitiful Wi-Fi implementation is so prevalent these days that people take it for granted. From the hotels we visit, to the cafes we frequent, down to the offices we call home 9-5 daily. And that's unfortunate, because when done right, Wi-Fi is an enabler for connecting us wherever, whenever.
Why can't most organizations get Wi-Fi right?
Too often, cloud hosted VoIP gets a bad rap on the internet. People bashing provider A because call quality stunk. Or giving provider B a tough time because staff constantly had "fishbowl effect" issues with the service. I've read many of the reviews out there, and I'm here to set the record straight about cloud VoIP: the majority of these negative reviews are pointing fingers the wrong direction.
Much of what people see online about cloud hosted VoIP negativity is FUD -- partially being peddled by customers with poor networks, and partially by some nefarious traditional premise-based VoIP telco providers trying to stem the wave of customers moving to the technology.
I owe Sony a lot of credit. It wasn't the original Xbox and the young Xbox Live service that gave me my first taste in console online gaming. It was my beloved PS2 that connected me to the early adopters skating around Tony Hawk Pro Skater 3, and wannabe commandos practicing flanks together in the original SOCOM.
With an add-on Ethernet adapter and LAN cable strung halfway around my house, the PS2 allowed me to engage in an activity that gamers on most modern consoles take for granted. Getting online with PS2 games was part test of patience and part geekdom experiment. PlayStation Network wouldn't launch for another four years or so, and one console later -- on the PS2, you were truly on your own when it came to navigating online gaming.
No less than a week ago, young Dylann Roof, a self-described hardline racist, decided to take nine wonderful lives in Charleston, SC. This was an individual who, through a manifesto since unveiled, had shaped his worldview so narrowly that he irreversibly joined the corrupted fringes of society.
But what really killed nine innocent people here? As much as our President wishes to believe it so, a gun wasn't the real cause of Roof's killing spree; it was an accessory to murder. Nor was the Confederate flag; this was merely hijacked window dressing to glorify one man's twisted reality. With as much debate currently focusing on these non-issues, the real causes which bred a monster by all definitions are sadly diluted from discussion.
Microsoft made it pretty clear: Windows 10 Technical Preview for Phones is still only meant for serious technical testers only. Of anything I've learned after one full week using my daily Lumia 925 on the preview release, it's that this OS is far from ready for primetime. But that's not necessarily a bad thing, per se.
I decided to write up some of my thoughts about Windows 10 Technical Preview for Phones 10051 before I rolled back my phone to Windows Phone 8.1. Yes, willingly, I spent the last work week using my daily Lumia 925 on preview build 10051, the latest and only second release Microsoft has publicly doled out for the community.
There was a very frank question pegged towards Slashdot readers a few months back, which I happened to stumble upon just by chance during some Googling. It was a pretty simple question that merely asked: for the non-coders out there, especially ones taking advantage of open source software, why aren't more of you contributing back to the open source community?
A legit, honest conundrum that is likely true for most who use such software.
There's no need to ask for a show of hands. To get a sense of how long the Windows RT hate-train is, you can just spend a few minutes Googling. A few weeks ago when Microsoft let loose that official Windows RT devices, like the Surface 2, were not getting Windows 10 in any proper shape, the anti-RT chorus cheered that they have been finally vindicated.
Stories like this one which adorned The Verge planted their flags pretty clearly: "Windows RT is officially dead".
Two of the largest network gaming services, Xbox Live and PlayStation Network, took unplanned hiatuses on Christmas Day 2014. And for their credit, both Sony and Microsoft were not the culprits for the outages. Newly infamous hacking group Lizard Squad used DDoS attacks against the gaming networks to chalk up part publicity stunt and part targeted advertising for their new DDoS-for-hire service.
At this point, the who and why of this story aren't anything new if you've been watching IT news the last few weeks. But something that hasn't gotten as much attention is the "how" of Lizard Squad's Xmas Day barrage last year.
There's a reason we are in a cultural, military, and cyber messaging war with a twisted group called IS -- still widely called ISIS, its old name. It doesn't call itself HISIS; they don't claim to represent Hinduism. Nor BISIS; they aren't Buddhist radicals. CRISIS and JISIS would also be incorrect, since they aren't Christian or Jewish radicals, either.
They may not represent mainstream Islam, but they wholeheartedly believe in their evil calling to establish a global Islamic caliphate based on a radical Sharia ideology -- affectionately and simply called the Islamic State.
When scoping out new servers for customers, we usually look towards Dell, as their boxes have the right mix of price, performance, expandability, and quality that we strive for. RAID card options these days are fairly plentiful, with our sweet spot usually ending up on the PERC H700 series cards that Dell preinstalls with its midrange to higher end PowerEdge server offerings.
But recently we were forced into using one of its lower end RAID cards, the H200 PCIe offering. This internal card was one of the few dedicated RAID options certified to work in a refurbished server we had to put back into production, a Dell R210 1u rack unit. The specs looked fine and dandy in nearly all respects, except for one area that I like to avoid: the lack of dedicated battery backed flash cache.
Most of us have hopefully managed to get off the sinking ship that was Windows XP. As much of a recent memory as that has become, a new end of life is rearing its head, and it's approaching fervently for those who haven't started planning for it. Microsoft's Windows Server 2003, a solid server operating system that's now about eleven and a half years old, is heading for complete extinction in just under 300 days. Microsoft has a fashionable countdown timer already ticking.
Seeing as we just finished our second server migration in a single week (a personal record so far), sharing some of the finer aspects of how we are streamlining these transitions seems like a timely fit. This braindump of sorts is a collection of best practices that we are routinely following for our own customers, and they seem to be serving us well so far.
A few weeks back, I finally had a really good chance at stress testing our company's still-fresh hosted Lync solution from CallTower. Merging calls. Transferring calls. Starting ad-hoc conference calls with clients. All the while IM'ing my internal staff and fellow clients, and checking voicemails that were coming through as MP3s in my email along with associated text transcriptions.
If you think I was sitting at the comfort of my desk with the power of a desk phone at my side, you guessed wrong. I was nearly 900 miles away from our home base in Park Ridge, out in the beautiful city of Stamford, CT helping clean up a messy VoIP rollout for a customer who needed some dire help.