Apple focuses on enterprise users

Last week, Apple made it clear that it intends for iOS to remain the dominant mobile platform for the enterprise. iOS 11, which will be released as a public beta later this month and is due out in final form this fall, doubles down on productivity, offers a more intuitive UI, and ensures that the iPad Pro can actually replace a PC for the vast majority of worker tasks. The most notable iOS 11 features for business use are, not surprisingly tied to the iPad Pro, which in the past has been useful for certain tasks — especially for designers and for word processing — but often didn’t meet the bar to serve as a true PC alternative. The biggest issue with the iPad has always stemmed from its inception as a mobile device. When Apple’s tablet arrived seven years ago, there was a lot of dismissive talk that it was really nothing more than a larger iPhone or iPod Touch. It didn’t help that Apple initially positioned the iPad as a consumer device, one for viewing content rather than creating it. Despite Apple’s efforts to make iOS devices true enterprise citizens — and it’s had a fair amount of success doing so — the belief persists that the iPad isn’t a PC (or Mac) and therefore is a secondary device rather than a primary computing solution. Mobile first set Apple’s direction Within that debate, there’s a nugget of truth. iOS is, and always has been, a mobile OS. It was originally designed for a phone, where the capabilities needed for business are rather different. We don’t expect to do 3D modeling or write long documents or presentations on a phone, despite its processing power and today’s larger form factors. Apple also made an effort to ensure continuity of user experience across all iOS devices, which includes devices with displays ranging from four inches to almost 13. Apple has been largely successful in doing that. But trying to keep a single user experience across those form factors and use cases had the effect of hobbling how users, particularly business users, could be productive on the iPad. iOS 11 breaks that tradition by delivering a more capable, even somewhat desktop-like, user interface on the iPad compared to the iPhone. From what we’ve seen so far, Apple managed this without truly disrupting the relation between the iPad and iPhone. Apple’s decision to deliver a more unique experience on the iPad this year also had a side effect. Many of the newly unveiled interface elements in iOS 11 on the iPad take design cues from macOS. Drag and drop, the on-screen Dock, the Files app, the ability to have multiple paired apps and slide between them, all are strongly reminiscent of their desktop counterparts. In making the iPad more capable, it’s becoming more Mac-like. If you put Apple’s product lines side by side, there is now a very effective and obvious progression of user interface from desktop to tablet to phone to watch. This gives all of Apple’s products a greater sense of cohesion. And it strengthens Apple’s ecosystem because one device leads so naturally to the next. That’s even clearer when you consider services like the Continuity features Apple released two years ago, or even the ease of setup for products like the Apple Watch and AirPods. Apple and Microsoft shoot for the same goal from opposite directions Apple is certainly trying to cement its position in enterprise mobility and take a share of the enterprise desktop market. What’s interesting is that Apple and Microsoft (with the Surface line) both appear to be aiming for the same sweet spot: a device that combines the best of desktop productivity, intuitive user experience, and integration in the 21st century enterprise stack. While Apple started with a completely mobile platform and refined it into a powerful business solution that supports enterprise management, Microsoft started with the traditional desktop and then attempted to mobilize it. Both companies have made missteps along the way. For Apple, that was restricting iOS as a single user experience, regardless of device. For Microsoft, it was pushing too far, too quickly, with Windows 8. iOS 11 and Windows 10 represent both companies’ attempts to course correct and deliver a next-generation computing experience that balances the best of both worlds, mobile and desktop. Nowhere is this course correction more visible than in enterprise device/PC/Mac management. Microsoft is pushing for Windows 10 to be managed using EMM rather than the heavier solutions PC management has required in the past. That represents a bit of catching-up, given that Apple began that journey six years ago with macOS Lion. But it’s also a change that will eventually change how IT manages PCs. This is significant because it goes to the heart of an issue I discussed two years ago: that EMM is a significant shift from Active Directory group policies and SCCM. Microsoft’s change in strategy, while perfectly reasonable, actually helps Apple. If IT departments need to shift to EMM as their primary PC and device management strategy, a lot of the barriers to Apple devices begin to fade away. The same software can easily manage all mobile devices, Macs and PCs. By focusing on EMM as a total management approach, businesses can become even more device agnostic — allowing workers to be more productive on the devices they already have. In the end, Apple and Microsoft are headed in the same direction. iOS is becoming more desktop-like, even as Windows is becoming more mobile, both in terms of user experience and IT integration. Both have significant advantages, depending on whom  you ask. The reality is, we’re fast approaching a workplace in which user choice may dictate the device of choice — and IT will be able to readily secure and manage any platform. That changes a lot of the dictates of traditional operations, and frees up workers to be even more productive. Apple has a unique opportunity with iOS 11 and the company is taking seriously the sentiments of consumers and business users alike. That opportunity will finally allow the iPad Pro to fully live up to the word Pro. Source:

6 Nagios Alternatives

Nagios alternative number one. Pandora FMS. All in one, built from scratch, more flexible than ever All right, let’s address one of the elephants in the room: in monitoring most products or projects do most of the same things as the one next to it. The issue gets serious when a company decides to build its monitoring solution from a solution already developed and working. Don’t get me wrong, this is not a bad behavior, however, if you want to stand out from competitors in an already crowded industry such as the monitoring sector, the best way to do it is starting from scratch and try to change the current monitoring standards. This is where Pandora breaks the mold. We actually went through the trouble of building something from scratch that really works. More so, it works like it’s supposed to. We nailed it and actually created something “all-in-one” that works if you read the documentation where we have spent thousands of hours explaining how to go to the extra mille with Pandora FMS. If you’ve got the IT know how and are willing to take the time to comb Pandora to your taste, you’re getting the best price-quality ratio, considering there’s no price on these solutions. The legend even states that some Open Source users have tweaked this out to be just as powerful as their enterprise edition, but legends are legends, right? OP5, the second Nagios alternative- A flexible, Nagios fork, fresh but limited OP5 is a bit more complicated to use just like most others, their open source version is a gateway to their Enterprise version, and obviously leads to revenue for them. The good thing, although it’s a Nagios-based code, is that it’s oriented to be flexible, just like the aforementioned Pandora FMS. This means, they also pay great attention to their community, and essentially thrive off it. They’re heavily oriented to not only add value to technicians, but also to the customer or sales manager. This makes OP5 much more versatile. They have managed to adapt quite well to cloud service monitoring and, in general, do pretty well on the internet’s fashion runway. They’re hip, fresh, up-to-date and all those good things one pays attention to while developing. “You’ll absolutely need to have that Hadoop (or Big Data) integration” the boss says, well OP5’s done that for you. Hooray! A simplification in your line of work. But what’s the big downside of this Nagios alternative? Their Open Source version is quite limited and leaves you needing more when it comes to larger or more complex monitoring environments. It almost forces users to end up paying the license to get the full-featured edition. Third Nagios alternative: Zenoss core. User interface and SAAS oriented monitoring Zenoss is a really good option for network and server monitoring. Let’s be honest about it: it is a better tool than Nagios for monitoring. Really Zenoss made it, they created a very well-rounded monitoring solution, almost air tight with regards to stability and features. Thing is Zenoss Core is more oriented to SaaS (with their ZaaS [Zenoss as a Service] program). That’s their competitive advantage. Their downfall you ask? Less on premise features, less customization, and everything you get from a company that’s very rapidly trying to hop on to the “cloud monitoring” wagon of the SaaS train. Although we must admit that their interface and user friendliness is top tier, their free edition is very limited and the upgrade to enterprise is too expensive. Nagios alternatives number four. Zabbix. Complex to handle but really trendy nowadays Zabbix is hard, but not because it’s significantly unique when compared to others, but because their documentation is just so cryptic you probably will need an IT translator just to understand the setup. This is their main drawback: the cryptic nature of the software that makes a difficulty comparison made with the rest of the aforementioned services. Yeah, the learning curve for Zabbix is steep, very steep Thing is, if you’re developing software you should already understand that user friendliness is about 90% of what you need, the rest is just stuff that your real users won’t understand, or even bother to do so. Conclusion. Make it easy, it’ll make selling easier too. If you as a user can overcome all of these uniquely fantastic obstacles, then you’re in, and probably not getting out. PRTG, another Nagios Alternative. Easy and straight to the point in not complex environments. PRTG is a software that is up to date in the latest trends like web-based GUIs, mobile adaptations, and some other features that users crave. They have the best intentions with what they’re doing, and the services they provide are very well thought out, but nowadays you can’t just monitor from the outside looking in. Everything is integrated, and if it looks easy, it’ll probably be shallow. To sum up, PRTG is a valid product if what you need it for isn’t overly complex. Heed to this especially if you’re trying out the free version, it’s really a toy model for the real one. They’re good, easy to use, and have a very strong adaptive power, yet they almost feel like they’re the cuttlefish of the monitoring industry, but all this means is that they hop on to a lot of bandwagons with little real efficiency. Paessler created something unique, but times change, technology evolves and PRTG should find it in themselves to make something new. Their technology is not the most up to date, and they should rethink their architecture. Still they manage to offer a whole lot of features, despite you getting their freeware version, which is limited to 100 nodes, and though this may seem limited, it’s surely more than enough for many installations. Anyway, it’s solid, although. as a programmer, adapting the tool to your installation can be a little bit tricky. Nagioscan be more powerful than PRTG. Except for the lack of database monitoring which is a big problem on their behalf, it’s a great product, and relatively as good as or better than Nagios. Nagios Alternative number six. OpenNMS: Strictly open source, and proud of it OpenNMS is like the holy grail of Open Source monitoring software. They’re basically the only company mentioned that is STRICTLY open source, and they defend this principle like only real Open Source fans would. They have an enormously huge and active community and obviously pride themselves of this. They say they’re the only monitoring solution that offers Enterprise features while remaining Open Source. Yep, that’s right, according to what we’ve read and tested, you can basically scale ONMS onto unlimited devices from a single instance. So why isn’t this the industry standard you ask? Although we’re praising them here, and although their strongpoint is network monitoring, ONMS is lacking strength when it comes to application or server monitoring. Apart from this, their reporting tools for non-technicians (for your boss) are inexistent. Putting it into simple terms, it’s limited, but for monitoring networks exclusively, it’s a great alternative to Nagios, especially if your budget is close to none. So, in conclusion, we have a very wide array of Nagios alternatives that can quite easily replace Nagios. As a final conclusion, stop looking for the monitoring solution you’re told you have to use and start building some criteria. If your boss insists on using Nagios, prove him or her wrong with deep knowledge on the matter, let that person know that really you’re the one who’s going to be giving the best advice because you’re the one using the solution everyday. No need to get caught up in large marketing schemes that misguide buyers into believing an inexistent hype; support smaller software producers, you may be surprised by the effort and care put into generating quality solutions that most times are overlooked. Source:

What Is 5G?

5G is coming this year. Or maybe not. In the race to 5G, or fifth generation wireless, companies are starting to promise the impossible, which will result in a lot of confusion over the next few years.Because there isn’t any official definition of 5G yet, all the players in the wireless world, from chipset makers to carriers, are jockeying to define 5G and establish themselves as 5G leaders. 1G, 2G, 3G, 4G, 5G The G in 5G means it’s a generation of wireless technology. While most generations have technically been defined by their data transmission speeds, each has also been marked by a break in encoding methods, or “air interfaces,” which make it incompatible with the previous generation. 1G was analog cellular. 2G technologies, such as CDMA, GSM, and TDMA, were the first generation of digital cellular technologies. 3G technologies, such as EVDO, HSPA, and UMTS, brought speeds from 200kbps to a few megabits per second. 4G technologies, such as WiMAX and LTE, were the next incompatible leap forward, and they are now scaling up to hundreds of megabits and even gigabit-level speeds. Okay, So What’s ‘Real’ 5G? 5G is a new network system that has much higher speeds and capacity, and much lower latency, than existing cellular systems. The technologies to be used in 5G are still being defined, but there are many details on which everyone agrees. 5G networks will use a type of encoding called OFDM, which is similar to the encoding that LTE uses. The air interface will be designed for much lower latency and greater flexibility than LTE, though. The new networks will predominantly use very high frequencies that can transmit huge amounts of data, but only a few blocks at a time. The standard will work all the way from low frequencies to high, but it gets the most benefit over 4G at higher frequencies. 5G may also transmit data over the unlicensed frequencies currently used for Wi-Fi, without conflicting with existing Wi-Fi networks. That’s similar to a technology T-Mobile is launching this year called LTE-U. 5G networks are much more likely to be networks of small cells, even down to the size of home routers, than to be huge towers radiating great distances. Some of that is because of the nature of the frequencies used, but a lot of that is to expand network capacity. So 5G networks need to be much smarter than previous systems, as they’re juggling many more, smaller cells that can change size and shape. But even with existing macro cells, Qualcomm says 5G will be able to boost capacity by four times over current systems by leveraging wider bandwidths and advanced antenna technologies. The goal is to have far higher speeds available, and far higher capacity per sector, at far lower latency than 4G. The standards bodies involved are aiming at 20Gbps speeds and 1ms latency, at which point very interesting things begin to happen. Is 5G for Phones, Cars, or Homes? Driverless cars may need 5G to really kick into action. The first generation of driverless cars will be self-contained, but future generations will interact with other cars and smart roads to improve safety and manage traffic. Basically, everything on the road will be talking To do this, you need extremely low latencies. While the cars are all exchanging very small packets of information, they need to do so almost instantly. That’s where 5G’s sub-1 millisecond latency comes into play, when a packet of data shoots directly between two cars, or bounces from a car to a small cell on a lamppost to another car. (One light-millisecond is about 186 miles, so most of that 1ms latency is still processing time.) Another aspect of 5G is that it will connect many more devices. Right now, 4G modules are expensive, power-consuming, and demand complicated service plans, so much of the Internet of Things has stuck with either Wi-Fi and other home technologies for consumers, or 2G for businesses. 5G networks will accept small, inexpensive, low-power devices, so they’ll connect a lot of smaller objects and different kinds of ambient sensors to the internet. So what about phones? The biggest change 5G may bring is in virtual and augmented reality. As phones transform into devices meant to be used with VR headsets, the very low latency and consistent speeds of 5G will give you an internet-augmented world, if and when you want it. The small cell aspects of 5G may also help with in-building coverage, as 5G encourages every home router to become a cell site. When Is 5G Happening? The first official 5G launches will come in 2018, with broad deployment in 2019. The schedule was previously set for 2019-2020, but carriers and equipment manufacturers figured out an accelerated schedule earlier this year. Source:

Why I’m worried about Microsoft Teams deployment

I did a deep dive into the features in Microsoft Teams, which is essentially a collaborative chat application for Office users (a.k.a., a Slack competitor). I wanted to find out what it’s like to use Teams with an actual team for actual work. Fortunately, I’ve started doing some work with a local college — I’m mostly there to help with mentoring and development. It’s a team of around 12 people, and I’ll have more findings to share in the coming weeks, but there’s one initial concern. I’m starting to wonder if people will “get” how to use Teams. I set up the basic team channel and have added a few folks. I’ve shared a few files, and poked around with many of the features. A colleague has helped share files as well, and we’ve chatted several times about some of the projects we’re working on together. Teams has one major benefit, of course. Everyone that is already provisioned to use Office 365 at the college is one click away from accessing Teams. With Slack and other apps like Convo, you have to add the user, which is not a Herculean step by any means. It takes about a minute. Yet, since I’ve used Slack for many years, I know that there are times when team members share a link to someone who is not on Slack and it leads to some confusion. What is Slack? What does it do? People don’t know. Teams is more integrated. Once, in my early testing, I shared a link out of a Teams channel, and the user was able to access Teams using her browser as though it was already installed on her desktop. All of the provisioning was in place to make it work, and to her, it all appeared fluid and easy. That’s one big perk. However, once the user jumped into a chat, things sort of broke down. Microsoft built Teams to scale with an enterprise. In Slack, I’m part of multiple teams, but they are not connected at all. In fact, they all use a different URL in my browser. I can switch between them using a drop-down menu, but it’s still clunky and the chat messages are not related to one another. In Teams, you can have multiple teams and switch between them in a column. The chat messages are separate, though. I can be part of the marketing team and the recruitment team but the chat window stays the same. (When I asked a Microsoft rep about this, she said it was an intentional approach to help with scale.) You might think of this as an advantage, but it has led to some initial confusion. In Slack, the chat is what I would call “in line” — it’s just below the channel list. I can click on any name in a channel and start chatting on the same screen. When I go to my main view in Slack, I can quickly see who has chatted with me because the chat and channel links are bolded. It’s quick and easy. All of my channel and individual chats are in on view. In Teams, the chat stream is a button. I can see my teams or my chats, but not both in the same view. It might seem minor, but it’s caused confusion. Is it easy to miss a chat message? Yes. Maybe there’s more to configure here, but I’m not seeing any way to mimic the main channel and chat view of Slack. I could see teams getting frustrated when they miss individual messages. People are too lazy to click on buttons at times. Slack and Convo do a better job of showing chat messages. Convo uses a pop-up window that overlays on top of the main team channels. It’s possible Microsoft wasn’t able to mimic exactly how Slack and Convo work — it could look like they “borrowed” that feature or just didn’t code things that way. More importantly, I’m not loving the Teams interface in general. There’s a lot of noise. Convo and Slack, the two apps I use on a daily basis, are clean and user-friendly. Teams might be more powerful — I love the animated GIFs and Skype calls, anyway — but it is also more confusing. In theory, you could have as many as 25 different tabs in a Teams channel, one for Word and Excel and everything else you use. What is the difference between the Activity tab and the Teams tab? People don’t seem to know or care. Why is there are separate Files tab? I like seeing files in-line as part of a conversation, which is how it works in Slack. In Teams, you can attach files within a conversation as well, but this flexibility of using a Files tab and button could also cause a lot of confusion. Overall, communication has to be streamlined to be effective. Slack is a glorified text messaging app, but that’s one of the reasons it is so effective and popular. Anyone can use it. In Teams, you see a chat tab, a files tab, an activity tab — the main screen looks cluttered and confusing. There are too many buttons and tabs. I also don’t care about meetings. Few people will bother starting a meeting from teams. (Worse yet, if someone is not already provisioned on Office for your company, they can’t use Teams.) Is it a back to the drawing board moment for Microsoft? Not really. Sometimes, what is included as part of an ecosystem becomes the tool of choice, and Microsoft will eventually iron out the problems. For now, the app is not quite working like it should. Source:, John Brandon

Is BMW’s futuristic new concept motorbike a scooter?

This looks like a scooter, but it’s actually the BMW Motorrad Concept Link, the latest in BMW’s series of exhaustingly-named Motorrad concept vehicles, which imagine a not-so distant future in which we all travel around in angular, sci-fi style. The Link offers an electric drive, which makes possible the lower seat that BMW says facilitates easily getting on and off the vehicle. It has a reverse gear, which is not typical of many motorcycles, letting you negotiate city spaces more easily. There’s onboard storage under the seat bench, and it has cutaways that let you see the technology powering it within. There’s no instrument cluster on the Link, but that’s because it projects information like speed, remaining charge and navigation information right onto the windscreen. The windscreen can also be swapped out for other options for greater personalization. There’s also a secondary display below the handle bars that offers touchscreen input, and the handlebars have built-in touch sensitive controls for easy access to favorite features while en route. BMW goes beyond the bike to include a design for rider equipment, including a lightweight jacket with hidden protection. There’s also motion controls built in that let you open the luggage door with a wave of your arm. These Motorrad concepts aren’t likely to enter production anytime soon, but instead provide some insight into where BMW thinks the industry is headed. I could go for a flash future scooter, so this one makes sense to me. Source:

Xiaomi’s new Mi Max 2 – two-day battery

Fresh from announcing the Mi 6, its latest flagship smartphone, last month, Xiaomi gone and unveiled another new phone. The Mi Max 2, announced today at an event in Beijing, will be available in China from June 1 priced upwards from RMB 1699, that’s around $247. Xiaomi claims it sold over three million of the original Mi Max, which is headlined by its big screen. The main selling point of the second version is a gigantic 5300mAh battery which the company claims will last for two days per charge. It claims that the device can charge to 68 percent in an hour and that its full capacity will give a user up to 18 hours of watching video, or 57 hours of call time. The Mi Max 2 packs a unibody metal design and comes it at the same 6.44-inch size. It is available with 4GB RAM with the option of 64GB or 128GB storage — that larger capacity option costs slightly more at RMB 1999, or approximately $290. The device packs a 12MP rear camera, with a five megapixel front camera, stereo speakers and a fingerprint sensor on the reverse. Under the hood, the party is powered by an octacore 2.0 GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon 625 chipset. On the software side of things, the home-baked MI UI includes a one-handed mode — not unlike Apple’s reachability for larger iPhones — while a split screen version is planned soon to provide multi-tasking options. There’s no word on an international launch date but, given the popularity of the original Mi Max, you can expect that there are plans to sell this new version outside of China soon. The launch of the Mi Max comes right after Xiaomi unveiled its newest flagship, the Mi 6, last month. As we said at that launch, these are challenging times for the company — which investors valued at $45 billion as recently as 2014. In 2016, rivals Huawei, Vivo and Oppo were among the challengers that rose up with competitively priced phones and strong offline distribution reach to knock Xiaomi off the number one perch for smartphone sales in China. Lei Jun has promised to bounce back and expand Xiaomi’s offline commerce efforts, while he intends to continue its ‘smart device’ ecosystem push to increase customer engagement and generate increased revenue. Indeed, the Xiaomi CEO recently likened his firm to U.S. retailer Costco rather than Apple, the latter being a common comparison made in previous years. Source:

How to Protect Your PC online

Your Internet Service Provider keeps track of your actions on the internet. Here’s how you can protect your PC online. After the recent activities, ISPs are keeping watch on their user’s internet activities. They maintain the logs of your browsing data without you knowing. There are many methods to protect your PC online but which will work and which will not is very important. First, the important thing is, you have to decide what data you have to protect and from whom you have to protect. You might be feeling secure by Using the browser in the incognito Mode. But It won’t stop ISP from tracking your search data. Incognito mode just opens a fresh new tab which will not access your history, cookies, cache in the browser but that’s not sufficient. # Do Not Track Latest browsers come with a ‘Do Not Track‘ signal. Browsers can send this signal to websites along with every request. While DNT is often hidden in the advanced options of your browser, enabling it lets a web server to know that, you will not accept cookies which can track you. Here’s how to enable it: Chrome: Settings > Advanced Settings > Check the last box under the Privacy heading, “Send a ‘Do Not Track‘ request with your browsing traffic”. Firefox: Options > Privacy > Click “manage your Do Not Track settings” > Click “Always apply Do Not Track“. # Use the good VPN A Virtual Private Network(VPN) is an encrypted connection that allows you to connect to a network over the internet just like you are a part of that local area network (LAN). A VPN is really useful for companies, as workers can access shared drives, printers, and other resources from their home. It’s also a great privacy tool. These are some good VPN clients: Psiphon HideMyAss SurfEasy HideMe CyberGhost # Use Tor Browser The Tor browser has widely been used for secure your browsing. Tor is The short form for The Onion Router basically, it hides your IP by relaying your web requests through a network of proxy servers. Tor is a great method for browsing anonymously unless you are trying to misuse it. # Prefer HTTPS connection Always check on the leftmost side of the address bar for HTTPS is written there or not. HTTPS provide SSL or TSL encryption while browsing online. TLS traffic is encrypted so that only the recipient and server can see the data that’s being transmitted. That’s why your bank’s website and Amazon orders are always secure. # Use a good Antivirus To protect your PC online first you have to keep your computer clean. many pop-ups or malicious Softwares such as a virus, adware, spyware give your information to some websites or attackers. This makes your PC vulnerable online. so use a good antivirus and keep it up-to-date.

Next stage of virtualisation: Containers

The buzz and hype surrounding container technologies has reached fever pitch in recent years, prompting CIOs and IT decision makers to mull over what role, if any, they should and could play in their digital transformation plans. In simple terms, containers are a form of operating system virtualisation that allows developers to isolate and package up all or part of an application, effectively into a portable building block. The technology’s appeal can be traced back to the portability it gives IT departments, in that containers allow developers and IT operations teams to create, deploy and run applications in the environment of their choosing. Whether that be in the cloud, on-premise or across multiple virtual machines. For this reason, the adoption of container technologies has closely followed the take-up of cloud computing in enterprises, as the former makes it easier for organisations to move applications between different environments and even providers. Their use has also accelerated as enterprises have moved away from their traditional, monolithic application stacks and adopted a microservices-style approach to app development. In this e-guide, we take a closer look at what containers are, the technologies that complement and enhance their use, and get a first-hand insight into the impact their use can have on an organisation’s IT strategy and setup. Source: