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What's new with the Web Action Team
by John Harper
on July 26, 2012 at 2:42 PM
Now I'm really old as I remember when the first pc came out. The debate then was "why would anyone want to deal with their own versions of operating systems and software?". For the individual a "dumb" terminal would be good enough and it would allow the techies to maintain integrity of systems, storage, software and file backups aka a cloud. IBM (remember them?) proposed this.  
Of course Microsoft would not have survived had that debate gone towards the cloud at that time plus no one was comfortable with renting space from someone they didn't know.  
Interesting that society is changing . . .
by Bryon J. Noel
on July 26, 2012 at 3:10 PM
Networking speeds and storage is so much faster and cheaper now. Terminal networks never went away but are simply unpractical for a wide variety of needs that people have.  
Terminal computing was the concept where ALL software and Data lived came from the server. The Terminal was simply a shell of a computer that could not do anything on it's own. This didn't really save much in cost in the long run as you still needed the terminal computer plus the server and the network. When the server went down everyone had a problem.  
Cloud storage is a hybrid of terminals and workstation computing. Where the critical information is saved in a central location and the client software and Operating system still resides on the client computer. Cloud storage does not reside on any single server but on a large array of servers so when servers go down others are still available and nothing is lost.
by Jerry L Schmierer
on July 27, 2012 at 5:32 AM
Thanks Karl for your post. I too am now a cloud junkie using both SkyDrive and SugarSync. My original choice was SugarSync because it had much better ratings in syncing with my Android. It works fine. I take a pix with my phone and when I am connected to wifi, it syncs with the cloud and the pix are available on my computer. Sharing with SugarSync is bothersome. Every time any of the shared files are changed in any way, everyone gets an email. So, I have changed the way I work and do not work directly on those shared files, but copy to the shared drive after I am ready to post. This is not how I wanted to work with this, but my workgroup is much happier now.
Reply by Karl Krist
on July 27, 2012 at 11:45 AM
Jerry- Good to hear from you!  
I've got my phone to automatically sync my pictures with SkyDrive. I can't decide if that is a good idea or not. You know, some of those pictures don't really need to exist anywhere....  
But I'm glad you're using it. Once you start doing this it is hard to go back.  
Lastly- is your phone 4G? What kind of data plan do you have? My operating system recently changed, and now all traffic can go over the 4G/LTE connection. No limits on file size or anything. No WiFi necessary...and I never sync it with my computer.  
This is really good, because from my backyard the 4G signal is a lot faster than my WiFi.
by Karl Krist
on July 27, 2012 at 8:14 AM
We're swinging more and more right back to the concept of people not managing their own computers. We've done that for the last 30 years or so, and a lot of people would say it hasn't been fun.  
The thin client era you mentioned was a bit too far on the centralized control side. That was during the period of green screens and keyboard commands. Now that people have experienced the benefits of their own choices, it would be hard to go back to a locked-down situation. This new plan is more of a mix between the good parts of centralized control, and the good parts of personalization. I think this will go over a bit better.  
I mentioned my Windows Phone in this article. The system is not totally 'locked down', but there are not a whole lot of options for customization. And that is okay. I can change enough of my phone that it seems like it is 'mine' but not enough to get into trouble. I think that is where we need to be.  
John- as one of the Division's bigger techies, how do you feel about these change? Are you comfortable with it this time around?
by Wendy Rotchstein
on July 27, 2012 at 11:11 AM
Hi Karl,  
First of all I want your job and to be able to sit out on my deck at 8 am on a Friday lol...I am new to the cloud atmosphere and I am wondering if the clouds are really a better option than a separate back up disc? I have my own back up system because I used so many graphics on this computer and prefer to have them separate from our shared drive but those files take up a HUGE amount of space too. Is the cloud storage a better option at this point? Does the cloud store everything and would it be prudent to save my outlook backup files on the cloud too?  
Thanks for allowing a newbie to pitch in my comment here too.
Reply by Karl Krist
on July 27, 2012 at 11:52 AM
I would say that it really depends on what you are comfortable with.  
Personally I made the choice that if I lost all of my data, it's my own fault and I would deal with the consequences. The reason for my testing is to determine if the system works well enough that I would recommend you do the same. Currently I would say you should stick with the backup system that you are comfortable with.  
For the CS&IT data archive (publications, photos, etc) we keep at least 5 copies of everything. 1 copy is on a server that is only turned on for about 2 hours each month- just to transfer data. Another copy is on DVD that we ship out to Richmond. The other 3 copies are on servers which are geographically separate.  
I do this because I am paranoid about losing any of this valuable information.  
But to echo my statement up above- I trust Microsoft more than I trust my own plan. I just don't trust them with other people's data yet- only my own.  
Right now you can upload all of your files to SkyDrive. Use it as another backup location. Once you start to feel comfortable you can use it as your primary storage location.  
But adding it as another backup method= smart idea.
Reply by Karl Krist
on July 27, 2012 at 11:56 AM
Oh- and the photo was staged!  
The front door of my house faces West. My backyard faces East. You can see the light was shining on me.  
So instead of this photo having been taken at 4:00 in the afternoon, it was actually taken in the morning. In fact, it was about 7:15 in the morning, and I was taking pictures for work! (more to the point, I dragged my wife out in backyard saying, "I need you to take some pictures!" she was not happy)  
It's not all champagne and strawberries here- we just pretend that it is.
by Holly George
on August 6, 2012 at 5:13 PM
Great article...I just recently switched from a flip phone to Iphone S4 and got an the mobility aspects. Really interested in the Office 365 and SkyDrive stuff. What is the cost and does UC have a site license for these?
Reply by Karl Krist
on August 7, 2012 at 3:40 PM
If we move to Office 365, the cost will *probably* be handled centrally. As we currently pay for Exchange, Office 365 becomes an extension of that expense.  
SkyDrive is currently free. I recommend that you sign up for it very quickly- as they have provided some really nice perks for people who have older accounts. The best way to have an 'older account' next year, is to create an account this year!
by Kare Giovannini
on August 7, 2012 at 1:05 PM
Same question as Holly - I have an iPhone 4. Also, I'm using Windows 5.1 (our County is a tad behind) the instructions call for Windows 7 or higher. Does that mean I won't be able to use the Cloud on the clunker I'm using? Thanks
Reply by Karl Krist
on August 7, 2012 at 3:45 PM
Hmmm...I'm surprised you have a clunker in Sonoma County- I know there was a recent spate of upgrades.  
You say that you are using Windows 5.1. From my knowledge (well, a Google search actually) Windows 5.1 is Windows XP.  
XP is not dead per se, but the support for it is diminishing quickly. Windows 7 should be able to run on the same hardware.  
I would wait 6 more months, then look desperately for an upgrade. Right now you aren't missing too much, but soon you will be left behind.
by Darin Lum
on August 7, 2012 at 2:45 PM
Hi Karl,  
The UCCE office here is in transition and our old tape back-up system in not up to par. We have contracted with a new IT support consultant and he recommended we move to a cloud system. He recommended Amazon but I see you are using Microsoft. Is UC willing to work with us to test run a cloud back-up for our two offices, possible share the costs? This would be ideal as in the next year we will be combining two separate office locations into one and do not know if we can absorb those costs. If no on the cost share, then would you have time to talk to him directly to brainstorm on a cost effective solution?  
Reply by Karl Krist
on August 7, 2012 at 3:26 PM
Backup of data is one of the services we get the most requests for. Unfortunately, it is typically the office Internet connection speed that causes problems.  
I *would* recommend a cloud based solution for backup. Whether it is Microsoft, Amazon, or DropBox, there are a lot of useful tools. We will be looking into these this summer, hopefully to provide a recommendation soon.  
If you have an outside contractor you have been working with, I would recommend you follow their lead.
by Louise F. Rangel
on September 25, 2012 at 12:30 PM
We all have had our own individual external back up Samsung drive on our computers and with all the updates and upgrades to Windows 7, they stopped working. I can't seem to get support to figure out the problem iwth the drives so we currently dont have back up. Would you recommend this to remote locations? We dont have a server, per se, we have routers and remote access to UC data and programs. Do you have any advice on backup and/or getting a server?
by Russell D. Hill
on October 18, 2012 at 2:55 PM
Love my Windows phone. Had it since Jan of 2011, upgrade to 8 at the end of this month. I have my new laptop on the way soon and I just ordered the Windows Slate. I am one of your biggest techies in UC ANR land!
by Theresa Spezzano
on November 26, 2012 at 3:30 PM
Thanks Karl. I have recently switched to skydrive. However, I am already out of space and they are asking for $ for storage. Is ANR thinking of purchasing cloud space? I will be getting the windows phone soon! I just purchased the windows surface and LOVE it!
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