Wednesday, September 20, 2017

HTC U11 A Review and a toast!

The HTC U11 is a great phone! Fast, sexy, and easy to use are some of the first thoughts. The look of this thing is so nice. The Solar Red glistens and changes to lighter and darker shades of red in the different lights. It is a great size and not too heavy when you add a good case and a screen protector. INVEST in a good screen protector! More on that in a bit. The size of the phone is a good size and very easy to use with one hand. The layout and swipe directions are designed for a one handed user. It is very fast and the battery lasts all day unless you live on the phone. And the audio.... Holy.....crap! The audio is so awesome. Lets get into it
Even the packaging is cool. Its a fully recyclable package and laid out well. You get the charger and the usb C cable as well as a clear bumper to protect the back of the phone and the paperwork. The thing is a work of art. I am told all the colors are beautiful to behold and all shimmer in the light to make a great looking phone. The screen is very bright and the auto brightness works very well. You can see the screen in the direct sunlight and still read everything well with the default fonts. A note here: the screen is EXTREMELY FRAGILE. Get a screen protector with the phone. Get one that is shatter proof even if its just for the front of the screen. You can buy a full clear case from Spigen that covers the sides and protects the rest of the phone. You want a clear case so that the colors of the phone shine through and catch everyone's eyes. Even with this case and the screen protector the phone is much lighter than my Samsung s7 edge with the Commuter Case and no screen protector. When you hold the phone in one hand, its very easy to see why they thought of the "Squeeze Sides" idea. The way you hold the phone naturally puts your fingers in the perfect spot to squeeze and its able to be done without feeling like you will drop the phone. It makes taking pictures very easy. I am thinking about how program this feature how to do something else for me other than just take pictures. It can be annoying though some times when you take your phone out of the car the way you hold it can activate the squeeze. I've had to delete 3 different pictures of my front yard that snapped as I got out of the car!
Here is a photo I took with the phone using the squeeze sides. It came out nice and clear and was very fast to snap the picture. The phone has a lot of filters and adjustments you can make to the photos when you take them and after the picture is taken. I am not going to snap a lot of photos and compare them to other phones. There are other sites to view that sort of comparison this is not one of them.

Switching to the USB C plug has been enjoyable its much easier to plug your phone in while in the dark, not having to worry about which way the plug is facing to plug it in. (I have come from the land of the micro usb and I do have to replace some accessories but its not a huge deal.
Another thing to get used to coming from the Samsung world is that they are reversed with their onscreen buttons. The Back button on the Samsung is on the right and the app switch button is on the left. Every other manufactuer like the HTC has them reversed, and that is how it should be as it makes it so much easier to use with one hand. The back button is used more than the app switch button and after inital adjustments, it works great for me.
The new Nougat OS is quick smooth and has great battery power management. The phone has seen none of the weird software glitches I used to see on the Samsung. Multitasking is very easy with the app button and it ran multiple apps without breaking a sweat. ON any given day I have a google maps open along with Soundcloud as well as company email and other time wasting, battery draining apps! But I get through a full day with at least 30 to 40 percent left on the battery. I pushed the Samsung that hard and I was at 10 to 20 percent at the end of a day. The battery is good and I am glad, I would hate to invest on a premium device and not be able to get a good battery life out of it. I have had many tablets and phones do that. You only found out they were empty or dying at the most inopportune time like Right when you need them the most!
This new HTC U11 is lightweight, easy to use, and has a long lasting battery. I really hope that it will continue to be a great phone for a long time and that I will continue to enjoy it as they update to Oreo and beyond. This phone has been wonderful for the first 2 weeks I have used it and I look forward to writing a bigger review after some real time used on this phone. Im sure there are many different options I have yet to try out and as I learn the phone more I will find ways for it to help make life easier for me when it comes to my digital life.

Saturday, July 22, 2017

Samsung smart switch makes moving to a new Samsung very easy

So I have had the pink line for about a few months now and it is getting worse on my s7edge. It has started causing the top right corner of the screen to not respond to touch . So i decided to get an s7 to use so Samsung can fix the pink line if possible. I have not heard back from Samsung yet about fixing the pink line but that is a story for another day. I dread having to switch phones as the process has not been as easy as Apple makes it. Their iCloud works well and makes moving to a different device very easy. Well Samsung has a program that is very similar called the smart switch. It works with any device and will make switching very easy to get to a new Samsung device.

The transfer can happen 3 ways, via Wireless from one device to the other, with a usb transfer cable, or connecting the devices to a pc or mac.

The Smart switch will let you choose your items you want to sync like your contacts, photos, and text messages. It even keeps most of your settings the same. I cannot speak if that works across platforms but switching from one Samsung to the other kept all the settings. I had my icons right where I liked them and all the apps opened and worked with no issues. You do need to sign back into each app and reauthorize if you have a 2 factor authentication setup. But all your data comes right over and its very easy to get back up and running in no time with very little hassle. I did have to readjust my sound settings so I figured it was time to pick some different ring tones for messages and alerts and calls. The program works well it is very easy to download and install and very easy to follow the steps. It was pretty fast too as it flew over the wifi and I have a good amount of photos on the device's storage. It took less than an hour to get everything moved over. It may have even been about 30 minutes.
It is a great app to use and if your going to move to a Samsung I highly recommend getting this app. I will probably have to use it one more time once I get my s7edge fixed. I will update about that later on once I find out what the status of getting it fixed is. I hope to just be able to get it swapped out but I am not looking forward to getting a refurb if that is what they offer me. I know I will not pay for the repair as it is not caused by use its a defect in the phone. I really hope Samsung does a better job with their s8 line than the issues that plagued the s7 line as well as the Note 7 debacle. If you are getting a new Samsung just make sure to use the Smart Switch app to move to the new device seamlessly.

Wednesday, July 12, 2017

Its time to start thinking about 10GB Ethernet

10GB Ethernet. It is here, it is blazing fast and it is probably expensive right now. But its going to get more popular in use and its adoption will drive the price down. I don't know how many homes might decide to move to it but it would be a huge upgrade cost to do so. But if you are running something like a Home studio for video production then it may be something that is needed. Even the hardware is starting to be forward thinking. The Buffalo TeraStation TS5410DN has a built in 10GB port on the back. Lots of NAS drives are starting to put them in. In this Video review by David Gewirtz just a month ago there was 6 of them and each one talked about 10GB Ethernet.

Data Centers have have been using this standard since 2007. Of course if you have Gigabit Ethernet and want to upgrade you are going to have to buy new switches and hardware that can support 10GB Ethernet. Plus you need to have Cat 6 Ethernet cable or Fiber cable to run it through your network. You can run it up to 100m (330ft) After that signal loss will occur. 10GB is the only standard that has come out that does not offer the option of Half duplex communication. The standard reads Full Duplex only. Would a home user ever use this standard? Sure they would, if they were in video or music production you will take all the speed you can get! Plus having 10GB to stream from your NAS box to your internet to upload, things are going to get done pretty quick! If you are a cloud provider for customers or Run a small data backup company you will want to have your backbone at 10GB speeds if at all possible to make sure that data will get to where it needs to be.
10GB Ethernet is almost here and its time to start thinking about putting budgets against it to make sure you have the speeds you need to transfer the ever increasing amount of data coming out of your network. This is a developing topic and I will discuss it more as it starts to make a larger headway into Mainstream networking. As always feel free to leave me feed back about my topics.

Sunday, July 9, 2017

This age of instant response can make for missing a moment alone.

Your getting out of bed trying to remember what important things you have to do today and you get "Bling" "Blong" Your cell phone chirps that someone has sent you a text. You respond then start to think again, I need to make sure I go to... "Bling Blong" Again the response comes in what feels like milliseconds and you couldn't even finish your small thought about going to the market! Later in the day you have been dealing with 5 emergencies from every department and then you found out you need to leave early to go to your house on your lunch break to deal with something and you just want to close your eyes and gather your thoughts for a second...Ahh..."Bling Blong" . It never ends. This instant response with technology has made us lose some of our razor sharp focus we once had. They say multitasking is bad and does not work. Well it used to before you had this instant response device working. You could start a project and finish it without an instant interruption that started and had five responses or further questions before you even got to pick up the phone to look at it! It has caused people to have less patience as well when it comes to waiting for answers. Everyone thinks you should be able to text the response back no matter where you are or what you are doing. This is not the case and you may need to let people know in advance. You have to block off time where you may even turn your phone to airplane mode or off to not hear those messages. Tell all you important friends and family you are doing this to focus on something important. Even if its for a work out and meditation. Does not matter. That is your time to get things done that need to be done. Those texts will have to wait. And for business, set the same ground rules. Let your co workers know, If you have something quick fire off a text but if it requires more than 3 responses, send an email or call about it so the message is clear. Let your clients and customers know, I do not do business by text message. You can give me a text to ask if Im in the office or can I call you? But anything else must be in written or verbal form via an email or phone call. Set the precedence right from the beginning and you can gently remind them if they forget later and do it. And if you get coupons or offers via text message think about them do you really need them? If you do, you just have to hope they are not at 2 in the morning!
It really is hard to try to focus for a long time when you keep getting some kind of alert from an electronic device. Even as I write this now, I had 5 text messages come through and my tablet had 3 alerts from apps come through. So my train of thought stopped a few times and I had to try to pick up where I left off. So if you have tablets you may have to put them in airport mode or at least disable all alerts that are not needed or are duplicated by your cell phone. Try to start small, start with 20 minutes maybe in the early morning. Put your devices to airplane then just close your eyes breath deep and think about something that relaxes you. Don't think about work or anything else you have to do, just think of something relaxing like an image of the sunrise at your favorite beach, or the feel of the breeze as you sit in your screened porch. Just make sure to take some time to your self for your thoughts. The more you do this the more you will be able to focus better and you will feel sharper and sometimes feel less overwhelmed at larger projects. Put on some of your favorite music and just listen to it for some time to your self. If your phone goes off while your in the middle of juggling three tasks at work that are small, don't answer or look at it until you get at least 2 of them done. Then take a quick moment to look at the text. Or if you feel better not worrying about it then don't look at it until you got all three tasks done.
They say we reached the age of instant communication. Well I would like to go back 3 steps where I don't have to respond in an instant and I can get things done without hearing sounds in my head, "BLING BLONG" .

Saturday, May 20, 2017

Sonos Play Review

I was looking into some new speakers for my home and I did not want some big monster speaker or have a mess of wires to play with. I was looking into the Bose system as well as the Sonos Play series. After reading about each in depth I decided to get the Sonos Play speakers.
I picked up the Sonos Play 5 which is their largest speaker.
I also picked up a sonos play 1 which is the smallest speaker. The smaller Play 1 speaker will be perfect for upstairs to have a surround sound effect while the Play 5 will be down stairs in the living room. You can connect the speakers together to play the same stream or you can set them up to be different and play different music. Everything is done with an app loaded onto an iOS device or Android device. These speakers are very loud! The sound quality is top notch. Setup is very easy to connect the devices to your wireless network. The option to put the speakers together in sync or separate is an easy option in the software. The devices update with any new software needed when they first connect to the network. And it is setup to auto update as needed later on for any new software updated. The other great feature that Sonos has is the True play configuration. You can select the room you will put the speaker in and turn on true play and it will adjust the settings to get you the best sound for that room. I have not even used that feature yet on either speaker but they still both sound excellent.
The app once downloaded is how to control the Sonos System as well as play media to the speakers. The app connects to your local storage of music on the device as well as many common apps such as Spotify and Tunein. All in all there is about 30 different services you can connect the Play to.
The very cool feature about the Sonos systems is that they do not connect by bluetooth. They connect through your wireless network. This keeps your phone free to continue to be used as a phone, or to make sure notifications do not get missed. The music does not stop if you get a call on your phone. The music is streaming through your wireless network. This makes a world of difference. Bluetooth is ok for a small speaker to stream with. But for multi Room sound the Sonos is the way to go.
The Sonos Play one is a smaller model but it fills a room with big sound. All the bass and treble is there along with a rich depth to the music your listening to. When you turn up the sound to max it does not get distorted either. The bass notes stay crisp and thumping and the highs get high without any distortion. The Play one is also designed to resist humidity so you can take it outside for some BBQ music or even in the bathroom to play while showering. (Who needs an LED bulb that can stream music?). This will probably be the way the Play one will be used at my house as my wife likes to play music while getting ready in the morning. The design of the play one is also very bold without being flashy. It was designed to be put in small places like on a shelf or a book case to be out of the way but to give you great sound so your music is always a joy to hear. There is a choice of black or white. I choose the Black for both units as it will go more with the decor we have through out the house. Once I did setup the Play units in their place they did look like they belonged and matched well. If you didn’t know they were there you might mistake them for just some kind of decor!
The Sonos Play 5 is the big bad Boss of a speaker from them and it has some large sounds to come from it. It has 3 large subwoofers and the sound from it is really impressive. It is designed in such a way that you can stand it horizontal or Vertical and the music sounds good either way. I have set my Horizontal and it sits in my living room at the far end. I have an open floor plan and when I crank it up the music flows right into the kitchen and even upstairs and sounds dynamic. If you sit upstairs and close a door it sounds like you live above a dance club. Before I got the Play 1 I went in the back yard and turned the volume up full blast and when opened the screen door, the neighbors wanted to know if they could borrow my system for a party! They said with sound like that you don't even need to bring it over, just open your door and face it outside and let us send you songs to play! Yes this thing can PUMP! I have set up both units so they play together and for the moment the Play 1 is in the office which is around the corner from the kitchen. This makes for a very wonderful sounding setup which you don't need to turn up loud to make sure you can hear it while your doing things in the kitchen. You can also purchase a 2nd Play 5 to put with the first one and then they automatically play in stereo mode with a right and left channel. I listen to a lot of Electronic dance music and rock and both sound so great. All the little sounds that are in a song can be heard clearly even while the bass is thumping along.
If you want to get a speaker that can give you great sound and is easy to setup and doesn't look out of place with your decor the Sonos is the way to go. People asked me why I did not look at Bose for a speaker but I did and I liked the support of more apps and options that came along with the Sonos. Plus the support is top notch. I think if your in the market for a new speaker for your home you cannot go wrong with any of the 3 options from Sonos.

Saturday, May 6, 2017

Greatness is achievable.

Think about greatness, it is attainable. But it means showing up everyday ready to work and not slacking off. It means going the extra mile and making sure your work is done correctly and efficiently. You can not slow down, you can not take it easy. You must work diligently and be as detail oriented as possible. You must be able to anticipate problems before they arise and be able to come up with a quick solution when needed. You must be able to keep your temper in check and respond without prejudice when a client is upset or angry. You must be able to be like a mentor and help those working alongside you. You must learn new skills and be able to implement them and show that you are a resource of knowledge and expertise.

Start with your body. Go to bed early Rise early, work out and get in shape! Eat well avoid the crap, for it will kill you eventually and take away from your greatness

Your mind, stay focused, keep calm and carry on as they say. Do not get riled up at the small bumps in the road. Take detailed notes if you must to remember things. Think of how you speak to others and how you respond to criticism.

Don't be nervous around Upper managers. They are just people just like you are. They may have a title in their name, but they are just people and were once on your side of the fence so to speak. They need you to assist them with technology. That is why you started down this path right? You know technology and you want to be able to help people learn it, master it, become one with it. You want them to be able to use technology and all its tools to get work done faster and more efficiently. People will look to you to help make it simple for them to understand. They need your help cutting through the garbage that is thrown at them when it comes to technological terms and megabyte this and gigawatt that. You need to be able to explain to them in a way they can follow and understand the point you are getting across.
Some people are just nervous around technology. Understand that and help them to remove a little of that fear when using technology. Show them “Hey, You got this!” Now they can do something that helps them get their job done.

Man can do anything he wants. You can go anywhere you want on this journey. Just work hard, and don't slack off, and keep an open mind. You can be great, at this and at anything you want. Just do it. You can sleep when you're dead!

What is the best thing to learn in the IT field to advance your career?

I have been working in the IT field now for 20 years. I have learned a lot of new technologies and seen a lot of changes in the way we use computers every day. One thing that I was trying to figure out is what to someone with my skill set should try to learn next. I have a lot of experience with Servers and cloud as well as experience with network infrastructure and and now VOIP and telephone configuration and support. If your at this level you may need to learn something new that will make you valuable if you were to branch out. I thought maybe someone should go about a certification in one technology but those are easily outdated and tend to be hard to obtain. Plus if you land in a new company that does not use that technology now you have spent all that money and time and get no benefit from it. Perhaps doing a combo of things is worth time such as the theory of support like the ITIL certification. This certification covers the codes of practice when it comes to supporting computers in large environments. According to many online sites, Comptia's group of certs can give you a very well rounded foundation. You can do A+ which says computer hardware and software are a specialty of yours and this certification is one of the first ones that IT people go for. It is relatively inexpensive to go after and does not take a large amount of time to study for and pass. Also with this cert you can go for the network version which is network+ which gives you a well rounded view of networking and how it all connects and works. This is a little more challenging to get and there is more studying you have to do to get the understanding down. If you can get hands on for this and the A+ it makes it that much easier to get the certs. Comptia also has the Security+ which proves you are knowledgeable about security and how to keep an enterprise secure on their network and the internet. The other one they have is the Cloud+ and Cloud essentials. The cloud essentials is an overview of using a cloud computing and isn't a very technical certification to get. This is a good one for anyone to get once they work in a cloud connected office to show they have the knowledge of how the cloud works and how it brings value to the company they work for. Then you can go for Cloud+ after that. This one is a little more challenging. This cert validated the skills of IT practitioners in the ability to implement and maintain cloud technologies.
These are some certifications that can help you get to the next level in your career and make sure to tell potential companies that you know your stuff and can bring them value right from the start of your employment with them. Now if your in a company and you find out they are going to start implementing Cisco networking gear then by all means start hitting up the Cisco training to get the Certs from them. Or if you know you will be supporting Microsoft servers with your current or future companies then try to go after the Microsoft certs like MCSE. These tests are all expensive and if your taking multiple tests to pass a certification like MCSE then you have to pay for each test you take and this will add up. One perk some companies have is they will pay to have you take the test or reimburse you the cost of the exam. If your with a company that will do that then you should go for as many as you can handle. With this benefit the retests down the road cost less so you can get a retest cheaper and do not have to pay out so much to re certify. There are a lot of free sites out there that share some information about the exams you are looking into. Some of them offer free study guides or low cost guides that you can purchase. Again, if your company offers to reimburse you for training then get the study guides. They are a valuable tool in preparing for the exams as most guides have great summary pages alerting you to the most important things to concentrate your study on. Its also best to check out where you can get the best deal for the books you will need to read. (I hope you have room on your book shelf and it can hold heavy books!) You can find deals on the exam books and some places you can find deals on slightly used copies of the book so your cost is lower to prepare.
There is some great certifications out there that can prove to companies that you keep current and have a high set of skills when it comes to IT. There is many ways to tackle the exams and great study guides to help you pass and become certified. It just takes time and dedication and to remember that it will only help you to achieve the next step in your Career.