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Comment: OK, we get it...its the keyboard (Score 2) 132

by zerofoo (#48633257) Attached to: Review: The BlackBerry Classic Is One of the Best Phones of 2009

Anyone that wants a physical keyboard can have one. There are TONS of phone cases with bluetooth keyboards. I don't know of a single modern smartphone that doesn't support them.

But hey, there are dozens of Blackberry fans that will love this it's got that going for it.

Comment: Software assurance for consumers? (Score 1) 415

by zerofoo (#48557013) Attached to: Microsoft's New Windows Monetization Methods Could Mean 'Subscriptions'

How exactly, is Microsoft going to get the end consumer (who just gave a bunch of money to Dell, HP, or Lenovo) to continually pay for an operating system and applications when Google and Apple are giving theirs away for free?

I guess we will finally find out how much people really like Windows and Office. Do they like it enough to pay forever?

Comment: I love the iPad....but..... (Score 1) 229

by zerofoo (#48513951) Attached to: FBI Seizes Los Angeles Schools' iPad Documents

We have iPads at our school, and they do help dyslexic kids learn how to read with apps like Lexia and Learning Ally.

That said, iPads - like most Apple products, are difficult to manage in a corporate environment. Apple's configuration tools are sparse, and they simply have no native MDM solution.

Third party solutions like Airwatch are a joke. They count on the end user to keep policies applied to the device under threat of not accessing corporate resources. Unfortunately kids don't care about that stuff and gladly remove the policies.

Things have gotten a bit better with iOS 8, but the fact remains that these devices were designed for a single end user, not for widespread, managed, multi-user environments.

We've slowed our adoption of iPads in favor of Chromebooks. They are much better for management and control of the end user experience.

Comment: Re: iPads quite simply aren't a primary computer (Score 2) 193

by zerofoo (#48511095) Attached to: Chromebooks Overtake iPads In US Education Market

"A prudent school administrator could build an MS-centric environment for the same initial cost as a Google-centric one, and with the same on-going costs."

No way.

The Microsoft cloud approach still requires Anti-Virus and associated management, it still requires a way to image the computers to some configuration standard, it offers no way to distribute configuration and security policies based on computer or user profiles.

To get anywhere near what Google is offering in terms of Google's security and management will require "pro" operating system licensing, domain controllers, CALs, centralized anti-virus, and an imaging solution - none of those are free.

Comment: When it comes to security, architecture matters (Score 1) 193

by zerofoo (#48510981) Attached to: Chromebooks Overtake iPads In US Education Market

Microsoft's legacy architecture means that there will (realistically) never be a really secure version of windows. To properly secure windows (as I did when I ran a network for a bank) you need to disable practically everything and limit what the end user can do online. In those scenarios, Microsoft operating systems can work, but it is far from ideal.

The "walled garden" approach of companies like Apple and Google is fantastic for organizations like schools. We can allow staff and students to run apps from a safe repository in the cloud. Their data lives in the cloud - decoupled from the local operating system - and even the local network. This combination of control and flexibility as well as the walled garden approach is ideal for schools.

To be fair, this is possible in the windows world, but it requires quite a lot of administration and work. It requires group policies, careful delegation of permissions, patch management, anti-virus, disk imaging...etc....etc.

The Google Apps ecosystem does away with all of this - and the cost benefits are undeniable.

Comment: Re: Schools can get enterprise tools (Score 1) 193

by zerofoo (#48510151) Attached to: Chromebooks Overtake iPads In US Education Market

The problem is not active directory. The problem is the "cloud login" used on these low cost Microsoft computers is a Microsoft live login and not an office 365 login.

It's a stupid oversight that complicates management and the overall user experience.

The Google Apps way is simply easier and cheaper.

Comment: Re: So much so that Microsoft is trying to get in (Score 1) 193

by zerofoo (#48510125) Attached to: Chromebooks Overtake iPads In US Education Market

You've never had to deal with students and staff remembering their logins and passwords I'm guessing.

With too many logins to remember you'll need a full-time help desk just to deal with password resets.

The beauty of the Google Apps ecosystem is that you can deploy and manage tons of these things with minimal staff.

Comment: So much so that Microsoft is trying to get in (Score 4, Insightful) 193

by zerofoo (#48507157) Attached to: Chromebooks Overtake iPads In US Education Market

We've had great success with our Chromebook deployment. For most computing tasks, they are cheap and easy. They boot quickly and management is a snap.

Microsoft is now trying to duplicate this success. They are giving away Office 365 E1 subscriptions to schools and non-profits. I will grant MS this, their online versions of Word, Excel, and Powerpoint are quite good and closely mimic the desktop versions.

Now for the bad:

1. Microsoft's "version" of a chromebook is something like the HP Stream 14. It's about the same price and about the same quality. Unfortunately, these do not run a locked-down/hardened version of windows. They run the same desktop OS everything else does. This means you need AV, imaging tools....etc to mass deploy these things. Chromebooks don't need any of that stuff.

2. The OS that ships in the cheapy laptops cannot be joined to a traditional domain. User management and policies for these devices cannot be centrally managed. Google's management tools are fantastic.

3. Logins everywhere. To login to these cheapy windows devices, you need to either have local accounts, or a "live" or "microsoft account". This means you need a "live" login to get past the login screen, and an Office 365 login to do any work - it's madness.

In-short, Microsoft is jumping into cloud computing and chasing the incumbents in a half-assed way. Situation normal over at Microsoft.

Comment: This isn't a tech issue, it's a immigration issue. (Score 1) 454

by zerofoo (#48461447) Attached to: Researchers Say the Tech Worker Shortage Doesn't Really Exist

When an economy has 8-10% unemployment, that economy should not import labor for any reason. Governments exist to protect it's citizens - that includes REASONABLE immigration policies.

I'm the second generation of a family of immigrants. My grandparents came here almost 10 years apart due to restrictive immigration policies. Generally grandpa waited his place in line, came here with a sponsor, worked, and paid taxes. After establishing himself here, was he allowed to bring over the rest of the family.

Allowing too many people into a country, too quickly, is a sure fire way to hurt the local workforce, and stress social support systems to their breaking point.

Unfortunately the politicians in charge don't give a damn about the citizens they claim to serve.

Comment: Government created the H-1B visa you twit. (Score 2) 454

by zerofoo (#48458551) Attached to: Researchers Say the Tech Worker Shortage Doesn't Really Exist

Those "pesky regulations" are the exact cause of this problem - and is the exact reason why Libertarians want government out of employer/labor relations.

If government had not given favored immigration status to tech workers, the free market would naturally settle on wages via supply and demand. Tech companies with the aid of the US government distorted the labor market to increase supply and drive down wages.

An Econ 101 student could understand this and see what is happening. Why you can't is a mystery.

"They that can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary saftey deserve neither liberty not saftey." -- Benjamin Franklin, 1759