Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Phone system

We elected to trial one office upgrade with a new phone system, on much different technology than myself or my colleagues are used to. We decided to go with a Fonality system. The support seems great, the product is very advanced, and the price is VERY good. We are doing our first SIP turnup and phone system install in the Paris office this weekend. I hope it goes well. If this works out we'll be rolling out Fonality across the company over time. Munich is next on the list.

It's essentially a modified asterix system. Fonality also manages the development of Trixbox, which is the largest distribution of Asterix on the market. Looking forward to seeing it in action!

Really amazing features and I like the fact that we can use almost any supported phone provider. (Cisco, Polycom, Grandstream, Aastra)

Fonality PBXtra - http://pbxtra.fonality.com/

Office 2010

I have been using Office 2010 for about 6 months now. It was a bit rough the last 4 months or so. I was also very sad that I didn't have my favorite addins such as plaxo, xobni, and others. I have been running them on a desktop I can remote into if I need them or need to sync my outlook data via these extensions. I got the new build installed after having to mess with the uninstall process. It was really annoying but it worked out. The new beta build is very nice. It's more stable, and there are several items added which didn't exist previously. You can also see in outlook how they are starting to integrate social media into email, something xobni has been doing very well for quite a while. The Microsoft social media integration isn't complete or even really working, while the xobni version is very advanced and works great.

I wish that Microsoft built some kind of wrapper to allow the previous addins to work with outlook, but I guess that's not going to happen.


 

Xobni - www.xobni.com

Plaxo - www.plaxo.com

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Windows 7 UAC articles

This is really upsetting me. I keep seeing this as I read my news tonight:

http://www.betanews.com/article/Sophos-study-suggests-Windows-7-UACs-default-setting-is-selfdefeating/1257455306

I was one of the only ones who seemed to think Vista was a good user interface and OS upgrade from XP, of course it could have been more optimized and even better, which is what windows 7 is. I also found the UAC feature in Vista to be very good, and similar to those of us who use unix are used to working. You su to root when you need to do something elevated, otherwise you operate at user level. The typical end user complained "it keeps asking me to elevate so often, I don't understand what this means". On windows 7, Microsoft decided to elevate only under certain cases (by default), and of course the inconvenience of the extra click, otherwise known as security, was removed essentially. This makes Windows 7 in its default setting much less secure than vista.

Being a systems and infrastructure guy, we get the same Vista feature in Windows Server 2008 (based on Vista), and R2 (based on 7). They kept the same escalation we had in Vista enabled out of the box on both platforms. This is especially good for a server OS. I have been seeing some of the admins (not in my group, but DBAs) disable this feature, and I always implore them to turn it back on. I explain the reason it's there, and it will save them, either from doing something by accident, or by something running in their session they aren't aware of.

Then you get other poorly designed software such as HP's Quicktest Professional which still cannot run with any level of UAC enabled. It takes 4 years to make your application work with UAC? Really?

So basically, user feedback promoted Microsoft to reduce the nags (otherwise known as security), and then the press and AV vendors are touting Windows is less secure? Seems like a catch 22 for Microsoft, they want to sell operating systems, but they also need to placate people like me who would like a secure OS. I understand they are shipping the servers hardened, and the clients less so, but is that a good idea? I think my mom will thank them J

We did it

We finally launched the new platform, its been pretty difficult both pre and post launch supporting the business, developers, QA folks, doing perf testing. Lots of stuff to fix, and I'm really looking forward to the cleanup part. Its always fun to recover space and processing power which is not needed on the new platform. Things are progressing well.

http://www.techcrunch.com/2009/11/02/mfg-com-takes-off-the-cuffs-with-manufacturing-marketplace-redesign/

We have to move a couple offices in the near future, and we're trying to open one in India. All of that planning and work is keeping us busy as well.

I am very happy to have a new global helpdesk manager onboard. Great addition to our team!