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Tablets Still Don’t Rule the World

The rise of tablets like Apple’s (AAPL) iPad, Samsung‘s (005930) Galaxy Tab and the Google (GOOG) Nexus have grabbed PC buyers’ attention and dollars for several years at the expense of the PC market. Lately, however, it seems that the carnage in the PC market has stabilized. And the growth of the mighty Apple iPad has plateaued. Could

Napping at Work?

Sleeping on the job may still be frowned upon as a sign of laziness, but an article by Lisa Evans on Entrepreneur say that in recent years a trend has developed among hi-tech companies like Google and HubSpot to encourage employees to take mid-day naps to recharge. Google (GOOG) was among the first large tech companies to

Subpeona Served for LA iPads

This bad idea never seems to go away. Remember the Los Angles Unified School District’s $1.3 billion iPads-for-all project? LAUSD big-wigs claimed that the Apple iPads and Pearson software would raise LA students Common Core test scores. I covered the questionable decision here and here. While the proverbial other-shoe appears to be dropping. Not only did the

Privacy for Drivers

Ford Motor Company (F) Global Marketing Director Jim Farley touched off a privacy storm when he told an audience at the Consumer Electronics Show that the automaker is tracking their travels thanks to their in-car navigation systems. He told the crowd in Las Vegas that the automaker tracks driver behavior, “We know everyone who breaks

How Amazon Delivers

Now much did you spend with Amazon (AMZN) this Cyber-Monday? Here is how they process all of those orders. In 3913, CNet says, customers ordered more than 36.8 million items globally, or 426 items per second from the online giant. They use robots like these …. . The 10 Amazon fulfillment centers in California, Texas, New

Tablets Still Don’t Rule the World

Tablets Still Don't Rule the WorldThe rise of tablets like Apple’s (AAPL) iPadSamsung‘s (005930) Galaxy Tab and the Google (GOOG) Nexus have grabbed PC buyers’ attention and dollars for several years at the expense of the PC market. Lately, however, it seems that the carnage in the PC market has stabilized. And the growth of the mighty Apple iPad has plateaued.

Statistic: iPhone, iPad and iPod sales from 1st quarter 2006 to 3rd quarter 2014 (in million units) | Statista

Could this be because there is no real business case for the Cloud Computingtablets? After being on the market for several years, they have not replaced the PC at work. Don Reisinger at eWeek, recently put out 10 reasons why tablets still cannot replace PC’s where he argues that the Post-PC Era is yet not a done deal. He argues despite their popularity, tablets still aren’t powerful or capable enough to replace PCs. He states in the article tablets cannot–and will not–replace PCs. Lets look at his reasons why.

1. Component power – Over the last few years, mobile components running in tablets have gained in power. However, processors such as NVidia’s (NVDA) Tegra 3 or Apple’s A6X still pale in comparison to the power delivered in PC chips from Intel (INTC) or AMD (AMD). Until that changes, tablets can never replace PCs for the power-hungry users among us the author says.

Apple V. Google2. App availability – Apple’s App Store now offers over 800,000 applications. And although many of them are worthwhile downloads, few actually deliver the complexity and sophistication customers would find in Microsoft (MSFT) Windows or OS X. Nowhere is that more clear than in the comparison of Office on mobile and PCs. Eweek says, until apps gain in sophistication, mobile can never keep up.

3. Virtual keyboards aren’t universally beloved – The problem with all tablets is that they come with virtual keyboards. And although more people are warming to virtual keys, there are still many folks around the globe that like having the standard physical keyboard found in PCs. The blog asks why not? Typing on traditional keyboards with two hands is far more accurate and efficient.

 virtual keyboard at FierceCIO echoed the authors, citing the virtual keyboard as a reason he does not use a tablet as his primary work device. I to have struggled with iPad virtual keyboards, and yes I did try Bluetooth keyboard cases and found them dis-agreeable.

4. Windows is the enterprise’s favorite - The article notes that Microsoft holds a dominate position in the enterprise. Tablets are just one front on that battlefield. The enterprise is adopting tablets at a rapid rate. But that doesn’t mean that the corporate world is ready to drop Windows for iOS or Android. In fact, Windows is still the most important software solution for enterprise users. Granted, Microsoft is bringing Windows to tablets, but for now, those products aren’t proving popular. Until they do catch on, PCs will win out.

enterprise productivity5. Think about enterprise productivity Productivity in the enterprise is extremely important. And on that front, Mr. Reisinger says  PCs are still winning out, Forbes recently estimated that MSFT Office market share will drop from its current 95% to 90% by 2016. Notebooks deliver the same level of mobility as tablets, and desktops deliver the power that designers and other employees might need. Simply put, PCs are still the ideal productivity-maximizing solutions for enterprise users.

6. Prices are still too high – Tablets are expensive. The latest iPad launch can set customers back $929 for 128GB of storage and 4G LTE support. A more powerful notebook can be purchased for several hundred dollars less. The author belives that given the state of the economy and the fact that many tech buyers are looking to save cash wherever possible, PCs can’t be considered obsolete in their battle with tablets.

Talet malware7. Notebooks are turning into tablets - eWeek points out that PC vendors have made the smart decision to cut off the rise of tablets by delivering touch functionality in their products. Lenovo’s Yoga, for example, has a screen that can swivel around and sit atop the keyboard to act as a tablet. As more notebooks take on tablet functionality, devices like Apple’s iPad might look like an awfully poor value for the price.

8. More options across the PC market – The sheer number of options available to customers in the PC market is something that can’t be overlooked. From notebooks to laptops to desktops to ultrabooks, there’s something for everyone. Best of all, the components in those products can be customized to match the respective customer’s needs. The blog concludes that choice, outside of storage space, is something sorely lacking in the tablet market. And customers know it.

Tablet malware9. The security advantage is going away – When tablets started to make inroads into the PC market, many speculated that it was because of the comparative safety that went along with using such products over notebooks. Now, the author says things have changed. Android is the top target for malicious hackers now, according to several security reports, and has become the next frontier in malware. That could prove extremely troublesome for tablet adoption if things continue to get worse.

10. The operating systems haven’t grown up yet Android and iOS, the two most popular tablet operating systems, are nice and effective in the mobile world. But they haven’t grown up yet. Mr. Reisinger says Apple’s iOS, lacks a file system. Android comes in too many flavors for customers to get comfortable with its functionality. Mobile operating systems have to grow up. If they don’t, tablets will never match PCs.

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Huge phonesJust back from the annual run to the big-box store for Christmas shopping and saw another reason the tablet still does not rule the world. its Pfablets.  Some of these things are just as big as an iPad Mini. Now its time for a good Gin and Tonic after facing the holi-dazed shopping hordes.

Dell and Intel released a report [pdf] that says the desktop is still the workhorse of the average office. They found that 77% of office tasks are completed with a traditional PC.

Ralph Bach has been in IT for fifteen years and has blogged from his Bach Seat about IT, careers and anything else that catches his attention since 2005. You can follow me at Facebook and Twitter. Email the Bach Seat here.

Napping at Work?

Napping at Work?Sleeping on the job may still be frowned upon as a sign of laziness, but an article by Lisa Evans on Entrepreneur say that in recent years a trend has developed among hi-tech companies like Google and HubSpot to encourage employees to take mid-day naps to recharge.

Google uses high-tech nap pods to keep employees energizedGoogle (GOOG) was among the first large tech companies to promote napping. Apparently the tech giant introduced energy pods – reclining chairs that sit inside a large bubble and  include built-in music producing soothing sounds and an alarm that wakes up nappers with lights and vibration. The author reports that HubSpot has a nap room featuring a hammock suspended above a plush carpet and soothing cloud-covered walls to encourage its 750 employees to catch some z’s at work.

Although napping is becoming a more popular employee perk in some industries, the Entrepreneur article says there’s still a great deal of resistance in the corporate world towards sleeping on the job. The article cites Terry Cralle, a certified sleep expert who helps companies to implement a company culture that encourages napping.

I’m still surprised that people are put off by napping … We’ve got great research supporting the fact that naps can help corporations and employees, yet  we still feel reluctant to make it an acceptable part of a healthy lifestyle and a healthy workday.

BOSSThe sleep expert says many employers and executives equate naps with slacking off, which she says couldn’t be farther from the truth. “Some large companies have workout areas or gyms on-site and yet we’re turning a blind eye to sleep and it’s a biological necessity.” The article cites a NASA study which showed that a 26 minute nap can boost productivity by as much as 34% and increase alertness by 54%.

The article The Truth about Napping provides some tips for getting the most out of your naps. They include:

  1. The best type of nap is a 20-30 minute nap best known as a power nap. According to Harvard Medical School, and countless other studies have shown that a power nap can increase alertness, learning, energy, and memory retention for up to three hours after a nap.
  2. Webmd.com mentions that a 60-90 minute nap actually improves cognitive functioning after the nap, while a 30-60 minute nap can decrease blood pressure and help with memory. However, longer naps can result in more grogginess after the nap, so you’ll want to find the nap length that suits you best.
  3. No naps after 4PM. If you’re looking to sleep well at night, try to nap midday, typically beFighter planetween 1 and 3 PM. Napping after 4 PM can make it much more difficult to fall asleep at your usual time.
  4. Nap at the same time every day. Our bodies love routine. By sticking to a napping schedule, you’ll stay committed to good time management, train your body to nap, and enjoy all of the benefits of a power nap.
  5. Don’t nap in bed. Lying in bed is literally your pre-sleep ritual, and when you sink down into the soft mattress, you’re basically telling your body that it’s time to close shop for several hours. Take a nap somewhere less comfortable than your bed.

So it seems that napping is a good thing. Here are a few more interesting napping facts in this infographic on napping via Patio Productions.

 

What You Need to Know About Napping

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Do what do you think are the chances your boss will let you take naps at work? You can cite famous nappers like Napoleon, Winston Churchill and Salvatore Dali.

Feel free to nap after reading this.

Ralph Bach has been in IT for fifteen years and has blogged from his Bach Seat about IT, careers and anything else that catches his attention since 2005. You can follow me at Facebook and Twitter. Email the Bach Seat here.

 

Subpeona Served for LA iPads

Subpeona Served for LA iPadsThis bad idea never seems to go away. Remember the Los Angles Unified School District’s $1.3 billion iPads-for-all project? LAUSD big-wigs claimed that the Apple iPads and Pearson software would raise LA students Common Core test scores. I covered the questionable decision here and here. While the proverbial other-shoe appears to be dropping. Not only did the apparent sweet heart deal between the LAUSD Superintendent, Apple (AAPL) and Perason (PSO) cost Supt. John Deasy his $350,000 a year job – now the Feds are involved.

LAUSDThe LA Times reports that the FBI served a subpoena against the LA school district which compelled America’s second largest school district to cough up 20 boxes of documents related to the flawed iPad project, to a federal grand jury.

The subpoena asked for documents related to the bidding process as well as to the winning bidders in the $1.3-billion poorly planned project. According to the subpoena, which was provided to The LA Times,is part of a wide-ranging investigation is looking into records related to Apple and Pearson that predate the bidding process or that involve other projects. The article says the documents sought include all kinds of documents:

… score sheets; complete notepads, notebooks and binders; reports; contracts; agreements; consent forms; files; notices; agenda; meetings notes and minutes; instructions; accounting records” and much more.

The article notes that the morning after the FBI seized the documents, Supt. Ramon C. Cortines said he was shelving the contract. He denies that decision was based on the surprise visit by the FBI. Supt. Cortines told the LA Times;

We’re not going to use the original iPad contract anymore. I think there have been too many innuendos, rumors etc…

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The grand jury process has recently developed a creditability problem in the US of late, so who knows what they will find in this case. Apple and Pearson have billions in cash to spread around to “educate” people about how great they are.

This just goes to prove how the confluence of bad ideas, poor planning and greed can go terribly wrong.

Ralph Bach has been in IT for fifteen years and has blogged from his Bach Seat about IT, careers and anything else that catches his attention since 2005. You can follow me at Facebook and Twitter. Email the Bach Seat here.

Privacy for Drivers

Privacy for DriversFord Motor Company (F) Global Marketing Director Jim Farley touched off a privacy storm when he told an audience at the Consumer Electronics Show that the automaker is tracking their travels thanks to their in-car navigation systems. He told the crowd in Las Vegas that the automaker tracks driver behavior, “We know everyone who breaks the law, we know when you’re doing it.

Connected carThe auto manufacturers have installed “black-box’s” on most modern cars. The black-boxes are capable of tracking, gathering and storing vehicle information. In fact, the Fed have proposed that such tracking technology become standard equipment on all cars.

Even though Ford quickly backed down from Mr. Farley’s claims, the comments created a privacy fire-storm. As a result, TheDetroitBureau.com reports that privacy advocates accelerated increased pressure on manufacturers to reveal what info that collect on “black-box’s” they’re doing with the personal data they do collect – and put limits on how it can be used.

Cloud based cars

In response, a group of 19 automakers have gotten together to lay down some ground rules, which they hope will assuage fears about the accessibility and use of the material. According to the article, the makers say the information won’t be given to government officials or law enforcement agencies without a court order, sold to insurance companies or other companies without their permission. The automakers agreeing to the “rules,” which they submitted to the Federal Trade Commission, include: Aston Martin, BMW, Chrysler (FCAU)  Ferrari, Ford, General Motors (GM), Honda (HMC) Hyundai, Kia, Maserati, Mazda, Mercedes-Benz, Mitsubishi, Nissan, Porsche, Subaru, Toyota, Volkswagen and Volvo.

Future carThe author speculates that the auto makers are willing to abide by the self-imposed “rules” because they believe actual laws could become onerous. Sen. Edward Markey, D-MA is skeptical of the impact of the “rules” he called them “an important first step,” but said it remains unclear “how auto companies will make their data collection practices transparent beyond including the information in vehicle manuals.” He noted that the automakers did not provide consumers with an opt-out option for whether sensitive information is collected in the first place. He plans to legislate an answer. He said in a statement, “I will call for clear rules — not voluntary commitments — to ensure the privacy and safety of American drivers is protected,” Markey said in a statement.

The automakers also committed to “implement reasonable measures” to protect personal information from unauthorized access. Privacy experts are concerned that in recent years many vehicles have had a variety of GPS and mobile communications technology built into them.

Cloud securityThe TheDetroitBureau explains these devices record and send all types of information which privacy advocates are afraid the data could be used by the government against the owners of vehicles. Some worry that many three-letter agencies and law enforcement will use data from the device to track citizens. Marc Rotenberg, executive director of the Electronic Privacy Information Center said legislation is needed to ensure automakers don’t back off their self-imposed “rules” when they become inconvenient. He said,

You just don’t want your car spying on you. That’s the practical consequence of a lot of the new technologies that are being built into cars.

The black boxes now installed in new vehicles could also be a safety issue for drivers. The article speculates that the rising level of interactivity of cars could open the door for pop-up ads in the cars. These automakers “rules” do not eliminate the possibility that Pop-up ads could appear on the touch screens of cars, trucks and SUVs as folks are motoring down the road.

One loophole in the guidelines identified in the blog, if customers agree at the time of their vehicle purchase, they could receive messages from advertisers who want to target motorists based on their location and other personal data according to the author. The possibility of pop-up ads popping up on in-car touch screens while drivers are behind the wheel worries some safety advocates. Henry Jasny of Advocates for Highway and Auto Safety, warned the Associated Press.

There is going to be a huge amount of metadata that companies would like to mine to send advertisements to you in your vehicle … We don’t want pop-up ads to become a distraction.

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Three letter agencyThe road to hell is paved with good intentions and full of pot-holes. I covered Cisco’s try at monetizing driver data here.  Industry officials say they want to assure their customers that the information that their cars stream from the vehicle’s computers to automakers (or Feds) via OnStar. Sync, Automatic, In-Drive or Car-Net won’t be handed over to authorities without a court order, sold to insurance companies or used to bombard them with ads for pizza, gas stations or other businesses they drive past, without their permission.

Ralph Bach has been in IT for fifteen years and has blogged from his Bach Seat about IT, careers and anything else that catches his attention since 2005. You can follow me at Facebook and Twitter. Email the Bach Seat here.

How Amazon Delivers

How Amazon DeliversNow much did you spend with Amazon (AMZN) this Cyber-Monday? Here is how they process all of those orders. In 3913, CNet says, customers ordered more than 36.8 million items globally, or 426 items per second from the online giant. They use robots like these ….

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The 10 Amazon fulfillment centers in California, Texas, New Jersey, Washington and Florida use:

  • More than 15,000 Kiva robots;
  • Robo-Stow, one of largest robotic arm on Earth for moving large quantities of inventory for customer order fulfillment;
  • New vision systems for enabling the unloading and receipt of an entire trailer of inventory in as little as 30 minutes instead of hours; and
  • High-end graphically oriented computer systems for employees to use while fulfilling orders for customers.

Amazon Robot USA Today reports the Kiva robots are about a foot tall and weigh about 350 pounds and can lift 700 pounds. They can travel at 5 mph. The Kiva software determines which items each human packer needs and in what order and sends instructions to the robots.

The Kiva-bots follow bar-coded stickers on the floor, to bring a line of shelving units to the human packers, stopping just long enough for the correct item to be plucked from the shelf. Then the Kiva robot carries the whole unit back to its place, and goes to get another one.

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Despite the robotic army, AMZN says they plan to hire 80,000 seasonal employees this year, a 14 percent increase on last year. They also claim to retain thousands of those new employees in regular, full-time roles after Christmas. We will see about the jobs.

Ralph Bach has been in IT for fifteen years and has blogged from his Bach Seat about IT, careers and anything else that catches his attention since 2005. You can follow me at Facebook and Twitter. Email the Bach Seat here.