IT Stories – LeandroDonofrio.com http://www.leandrodonofrio.com Read it, believe it, run with it. Tue, 30 May 2017 15:35:41 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=4.7.5 The 5 best damned text editors for Windows http://www.leandrodonofrio.com/the-5-best-damned-text-editors-for-windows/ http://www.leandrodonofrio.com/the-5-best-damned-text-editors-for-windows/#comments Sun, 27 Mar 2016 23:05:17 +0000 http://www.leandrodonofrio.com/?p=87 To develop a Firefox extension, you need certain tools. One of these essential tools is a text editor. You need something that should feel intuitive, be powerful, adaptable, load quickly, and be a pleasure to use. Which programs are the most suitable for developing web applications with?

It’s a fine line to walk. Text editors are a programmer’s bread and butter, and they need to have everything you want, and not anything you don’t need. If an editor is lacking features, then it is considered not complete, and if it has too many features, people call them bloated. People are so damn picky. This is why I’ve done the leg work for you and definitively decided the best damned text editors for Windows. Why Windows? My answer is “because, that’s why.”

If you have a Mac, then buy TextMate. …

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To develop a Firefox extension, you need certain tools. One of these essential tools is a text editor. You need something that should feel intuitive, be powerful, adaptable, load quickly, and be a pleasure to use. Which programs are the most suitable for developing web applications with?

It’s a fine line to walk. Text editors are a programmer’s bread and butter, and they need to have everything you want, and not anything you don’t need. If an editor is lacking features, then it is considered not complete, and if it has too many features, people call them bloated. People are so damn picky. This is why I’ve done the leg work for you and definitively decided the best damned text editors for Windows. Why Windows? My answer is “because, that’s why.”

If you have a Mac, then buy TextMate. …

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Another immediate extension installation – Tab Mix Plus http://www.leandrodonofrio.com/another-immediate-extension-installation-tab-mix-plus/ http://www.leandrodonofrio.com/another-immediate-extension-installation-tab-mix-plus/#respond Sun, 20 Mar 2016 23:07:18 +0000 http://www.leandrodonofrio.com/?p=92 Okay, okay, before you say, wait a minute- there’s no reason to install a tab extension on Firefox. It can do everything right out of the box, and all of those are way too bulky and they mess up my other extensions.

I say, “Nay.” This beauty adds features that are simply not available in the default Firefox setup. There are some things it can take care of that are a short tweak away in your about:config page, but there are many, many options it adds. I only use a few, but the few I use are indispensable.

My favorite thing that I love to do is inadvertently close tabs. Well, let me re-state that. I inadvertently close tabs from time to time, and I cry if I can’t remember where I was or if I am unable …

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Okay, okay, before you say, wait a minute- there’s no reason to install a tab extension on Firefox. It can do everything right out of the box, and all of those are way too bulky and they mess up my other extensions.

I say, “Nay.” This beauty adds features that are simply not available in the default Firefox setup. There are some things it can take care of that are a short tweak away in your about:config page, but there are many, many options it adds. I only use a few, but the few I use are indispensable.

My favorite thing that I love to do is inadvertently close tabs. Well, let me re-state that. I inadvertently close tabs from time to time, and I cry if I can’t remember where I was or if I am unable …

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Good Ol’ Token Ring http://www.leandrodonofrio.com/good-ol-token-ring/ http://www.leandrodonofrio.com/good-ol-token-ring/#comments Thu, 10 Mar 2016 06:55:16 +0000 http://www.leandrodonofrio.com/?p=45 trngLarge numbers of network administrators are confronting the fact that their tried-and-true technology may no longer meet their needs

Not long ago, Token-Ring technology was ferociously battling Ethernet for network domination. But now Token-Ring is fading into oblivion, done in by its high price and lack of a high-speed migration path. Because millions of Token-Ring connections are now in place, the change will be gradual, but more and more corporations are seeking ways to dump their Token-Ring networks. For companies moving into new offices or opening branch offices, the time may be right to make a complete switch.

For others, the technology represents such a large investment that the transition will take years. But studies show that few companies now consider Token-Ring strategic and many believe it is just a matter of time before they swap it out.

Token-Ring’s bleak …

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trngLarge numbers of network administrators are confronting the fact that their tried-and-true technology may no longer meet their needs

Not long ago, Token-Ring technology was ferociously battling Ethernet for network domination. But now Token-Ring is fading into oblivion, done in by its high price and lack of a high-speed migration path. Because millions of Token-Ring connections are now in place, the change will be gradual, but more and more corporations are seeking ways to dump their Token-Ring networks. For companies moving into new offices or opening branch offices, the time may be right to make a complete switch.

For others, the technology represents such a large investment that the transition will take years. But studies show that few companies now consider Token-Ring strategic and many believe it is just a matter of time before they swap it out.

Token-Ring’s bleak prospects illustrate that a technology can fail despite superior features. The networking technique still offers greater reliability and more efficient bandwidth use than Ethernet. Token-Ring networks also support source routing, which moves information from LAN to LAN by examining data packet headers. This feature, which is not available with Ethernet networks, lets users route information with inexpensive bridges.

Because of these advantages, IBM became a major Token-Ring backer and helped the technology gain acceptance in many large corporations. But over time, even these companies soured on the technology.

“Almost every large organization we deal with has begun to outline plans to move away from Token-Ring during the next 18 to 24 months,” said Bob Travis, strategic accounts manager for the IBM vertical market at Cabletron Systems Inc., in Rochester, N.H.

Automated Data Processing Inc., of Roseland, N.J., represents a typical case. The company’s 5,000 employees work with a variety of computers and rely on 400 IBM Token-Ring LANs to exchange information.

ADP has shared networks, where a group of users sends data over one 16M-bps Token-Ring network. Because bottlenecks were emerging at users’ desktops, the company last year examined moving to switched LANs, where each user would have his or her own dedicated LAN connection. Michael Del Secolo, ADP’s senior director of network engineering, found that Ethernet switching products were less expensive and more powerful than Token-Ring alternatives.

The price is wrong

Lower pricing is one reason Ethernet has become more popular than Token-Ring. During the past few years, the pricing gap between the two networking techniques has widened. “Many PC vendors now include an Ethernet adapter on the motherboard, so we get an Ethernet connection almost for free,” said Del Secolo.

Cabletron’s Travis noted that prices for Ethernet adapters range from free to $90 and port connections (a plug in a switch or a wiring hub) range from $200 to $400. In comparison, a Token-Ring adapter is priced at roughly $200 to $400 and a port connection on a Token-Ring switch runs from $800 to $1,000.

There are a couple of reasons for the pricing difference. Because Token-Ring networking offers more features than Ethernet, the chip sets used to support Token-Ring adapters are more complicated–and more expensive–than those used with Ethernet, according to Justin Smith, a senior industry analyst at International Data Corp., in Framingham, Mass.

Accordingly, companies have been purchasing more Ethernet connections than Token-Ring products. IDC data shows that vendors shipped 4 million Token-Ring cards worldwide in 1996 compared with 34 million Ethernet adapters. The higher volume lets Ethernet suppliers spread operating costs over a larger product base and cut the price to customers, IDC’s Smith said.

The pricing difference was too great for ADP to ignore. “We don’t [expect to] add any Token-Ring switches or wiring hubs to our network; from now on, our purchases will all be Ethernet,” said Del Secolo. However, because his company has so many Token-Ring connections, the transition to Ethernet will take years, he added.

Several companies plan quicker transitions. Cabletron’s Travis estimated that one out of every five of its Token-Ring customers is actively moving to other technologies.

Bellz Enterprises Inc., in Memphis, Tenn., is one such company. In 1993, Bellz installed Cabletron Token-Ring network wiring hubs to support 1,000 users.

“At that time, Token-Ring networks supported the fastest desktop speed,” said Ben DiAngelo, Bellz’s corporate director of IS.

Last fall, Bellz began encountering random network failures. Because the problem was sporadic, pinpointing its source was difficult. “We spent two months trying to figure out what was happening,” he said. “We even purchased a Token-Ring switch, but that did not solve the problem.”

Eventually, the problem was identified as faulty adapters for PCs running Windows 95. DiAngelo concluded that his company did not have the right type of diagnostic tools because vendors focused first on Ethernet technology and only later on the Token-Ring networks.

“The gap between when new features are available on Ethernet networks and on Token-Ring networks has widened during the past few years because vendors do not seem to be allocating many resources to their Token-Ring products,” said Tom Stenson, a principal at M5 Systems Inc., a Braintree, Mass., consultancy.

Frustrated by that gap, Bellz began to map out plans to move into a new corporate office and had to determine how to move the corporate network.

“We didn’t see Token-Ring technology as our long-term networking solution and decided to bite the bullet and deploy another networking technology in the new building,” DiAngelo said.

Bellz officials envisioned eventually installing high-bandwidth applications, such as desktop videoconferencing, so the company’s decision came down to either Fast Ethernet or ATM. Videoconferencing applications have special bandwidth needs that would seem to be better suited to ATM networks.

Ring in the Bellz

Despite its interest in desktop videoconferencing, Bellz Enterprises opted to install Cabletron Fast Ethernet switches in its new building. Price was one consideration; 25M-bps ATM connections are in the same price range as those for Token-Ring. ATM just did not offer enough bang for the buck to justify the price difference, DiAngelo said.

Ethernet offered a more attractive migration path for Bellz. Moving from a switched 10M-bps Ethernet connection to 100M-bps links only requires changing a port connection.

Because of the long-term migration path, Ethernet has a bright future. IDC predicts worldwide Ethernet adapter use will rise from 34 million units shipped in 1996 to 45 million in the year 2000. Conversely, IDC projects Token-Ring adapter card shipments to decline from 4.2 million to 3 million.

Even as Token-Ring technology fades into the background, ADP’s Del Secolo has no regrets about his company’s decision. “In 1985, IBM said it would support Token-Ring technology for at least 10 years, and that turned out to be true,” he explained. “But nothing lasts forever. Now it’s time to move to another networking technology.”

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Layer 3 Switches: Still The Gold Standard http://www.leandrodonofrio.com/layer-3-switches-still-the-gold-standard/ http://www.leandrodonofrio.com/layer-3-switches-still-the-gold-standard/#respond Fri, 04 Mar 2016 06:46:33 +0000 http://www.leandrodonofrio.com/?p=41 l2swLayer 3 switches can slash router latency, but the current lack of unified industry standards necessitates cautious deployment of the technology

Reducing router latency is one of the top priorities of many network managers, so the industry’s crazed rush to deliver Layer 3 switching technology is not surprising. Unfortunately, little agreement has been reached on a unified Layer 3 switch design, and it doesn’t appear that standards are looming in the wings.

Because of this lack of uniformity, we urge network administrators to take only cautious steps toward implementing this new technology. Those desperate to deploy Layer 3 switches should start from the outer edges of the network, rather than overhauling the backbone with products that might not fully interoperate with installed infrastructures or future standards.

Detouring around congestion

Layer 3 switch technology can substantially reduce router latency and …

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l2swLayer 3 switches can slash router latency, but the current lack of unified industry standards necessitates cautious deployment of the technology

Reducing router latency is one of the top priorities of many network managers, so the industry’s crazed rush to deliver Layer 3 switching technology is not surprising. Unfortunately, little agreement has been reached on a unified Layer 3 switch design, and it doesn’t appear that standards are looming in the wings.

Because of this lack of uniformity, we urge network administrators to take only cautious steps toward implementing this new technology. Those desperate to deploy Layer 3 switches should start from the outer edges of the network, rather than overhauling the backbone with products that might not fully interoperate with installed infrastructures or future standards.

Detouring around congestion

Layer 3 switch technology can substantially reduce router latency and turbocharge communications. A logical extension to LAN switching, Layer 3 switching delivers routing capabilities–which normally occur at the OSI Network layer–at the lower latencies associated with OSI Layer 2 (the Data Link layer) switches.

When network congestion in shared-bandwidth LANs prompted corporations to adopt LAN switching, the conventional routers in backbones and the outer edges of networks remained unchanged. Meanwhile, because routers simply cannot keep pace with switches, network traffic increased, causing a new bottleneck. Thus, enter Layer 3 switching.

Switches and routers operate at different OSI layers. Switches function in Layer 2, whereas routers operate at Layer 3 (the Network layer). Responsible for providing a packet-transfer service, Layer 3 manages a variety of information within a protocol stack, such as TCP/IP. Layer 2 switches, in contrast, are simple frame-forwarding devices and only use the MAC (media access control) addresses to choose a frame’s destination, so they require less overhead to read and manipulate each packet–switches that operate at Layer 2 are much faster than Layer 3-based routing. Because they include Layer 3 routing intelligence in the Layer 2 switch’s hardware, Layer 3 switches eliminate the usual bottleneck associated with routing between subnets.

In the context of VLANs (virtual LANs), Layer 3 switching allows network managers to define broadcast domains within a switched LAN using specific protocol criteria, such as an IP subnet or an IPX network number. Other forms of creating VLANs include port-based and MAC address-based approaches. Although VLAN specs are defined by IEEE (Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers) working group 802.1Q, the IEEE 802 committee is only concerned with the first two layers of the OSI stack, so the Layer 3 VLANs remain proprietary. Therefore, 802.1Q-compliant products follow specifications only on port-based and MAC address-based VLANs.

What’s on the shelves so far?

A number of vendors have shipped Layer 3 switches or are planning to do so in the near future.

But not only are their designs proprietary, there’s not even a standard naming convention: Vendors use terms such as “routing switches,” “multilayer switches” and “Layer 3 switches.” To add to the confusion, vendors are taking the liberty of describing their switches as everything from network-layer-based VLANs to full IP and IPX super routers.

The lack of industry standards and seemingly subtle design variations has translated into vast differences in product functionality.

Among the vendors offering Layer 3 switches are Xylan Corp., Bay Networks Inc., Madge Networks Inc. and Foundry Networks Inc. Most of these switches currently perform IP, IPX, or both IP and IPX routing.

Some Layer 3 switches implement Layer 3 forwarding in software, which allows the switch to be updated to support whatever Layer 3 switching standards become implemented. The majority use ASICs (application-specific integrated circuits) to implement Layer 3 intelligence in the hardware, casting the switch’s Layer 3 implementation in (silicon-based) stone.

Because most of the switches on the market today are based on proprietary ASICs, each switch design is inherently different, making interoperability among different Layer 3 switches impossible.

In fact, some vendors achieve Layer 3 switching by replacing traditional routers and switches at both the core and outer edges of the network with their proprietary solutions. Others, such as Cisco Systems Inc., try to leverage their market share and steer the industry toward accepting their proprietary scheme as the definitive standard.

Layer 3 switches need to interoperate with such network layer protocols as IP. Switches that incorporate standard routing protocols, such as RIP (Routing Information Protocol) and OSPF (Open Shortest Path First), can advertise themselves as routers to end stations and other routers in the network, and can therefore coexist within an infrastructure.

This type of Layer 3 switch–especially when deployed at the outer edges of networks–can coexist with current routers and end stations, although interoperability with other Layer 3 switches from different vendors is not guaranteed.

Network administrators must determine what type of Layer 3 switching–ranging from protocol-based VLAN definitions to full Layer 3 routing capabilities–they need to implement. Emerging standards, such as the 802.1Q specification for VLANs, must be closely monitored, and potential buyers should know whether hardware changes or software augmentations will be necessary to accommodate those upcoming standards.

Perhaps most importantly, network managers should understand whether their current infrastructure devices need to be replaced or reconfigured to interoperate with the new Layer 3 switches.

On the bright side, most Layer 3 switches can provide Layer 2 functionality. Thus, paying a few extra bucks per port (compared with Layer 2 switch prices) is not as risky as it sounds, because you can always use these boxes as traditional Layer 2 switches.

Beyond the up-front cash outlay, a Layer 3 switch is inherently more complex to configure and manage than a traditional router–at least initially. Be prepared to make a large investment in equipment and personnel training.

Although the corporate move toward IP as the main transport protocol coupled with the lure of reduced router latency promised by Layer 3 switch technology is tempting many network professionals to jump onto the Layer 3 switch bandwagon, we urge a cautious approach to current offerings: The importance of distinguishing facts from vendor hype could be the best approach for your network’s health.

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The Top Hard Drive Recovery Services In 2016 http://www.leandrodonofrio.com/top-2-hard-drive-recovery-services/ http://www.leandrodonofrio.com/top-2-hard-drive-recovery-services/#comments Wed, 24 Feb 2016 06:49:39 +0000 http://www.leandrodonofrio.com/?p=73 hdrsThere is no denying of the fact that keeping the back up of your data is the safest and most reliable way to avoid the frustration of data loss especially when it means everything to you. However, if you unfortunately happen to lose your precious data due to out of order hard drive, there still is no need to panic. There are a number of professional companies, which render highest degree of services to complete the delicate task of data recovery for you successfully. If you are wondering which hard drive recovery service is most reliable, here is a brief description of the top 2 services available right now in the market.

Hard Drive Recovery Associates with its 95% success rate has created great good will in the market and is leading the pack due to its unmatched customer support …

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hdrsThere is no denying of the fact that keeping the back up of your data is the safest and most reliable way to avoid the frustration of data loss especially when it means everything to you. However, if you unfortunately happen to lose your precious data due to out of order hard drive, there still is no need to panic. There are a number of professional companies, which render highest degree of services to complete the delicate task of data recovery for you successfully. If you are wondering which hard drive recovery service is most reliable, here is a brief description of the top 2 services available right now in the market.

Hard Drive Recovery Associates with its 95% success rate has created great good will in the market and is leading the pack due to its unmatched customer support services and state of the art recovery mechanisms. They offer variety of service methods including mail, free shipping, remote recovery, recovery software and even the onsite recovery service. When it comes to the most reliable hard drive recovery service, Hard Drive Recovery Group is another great option. It has the highest data recovery rate at 98% and it excels in the technology it uses for complex data recovery. Their average turnaround time is 3 to 5 days but they also offer emergency services and help recover data within 24 to 36 hours. If your data is precious to you, we highly recommend using a professional hard drive recovery service instead of trying to fix it yourself and ending up aggravating the problem.

Reasons Behind Poweredge Logical Drive Failure

The PowerEdge logical drive can fail because of many reasons. The main reason for the failure is the improper use of the machine. If the system has not shut down properly, then it can cause the problem by losing the data. Sometimes while using the computer, we unintentionally delete the files of the system, because of that reason the PowerEdge logical drive failed to work properly. These files are very important for the proper functioning of the drives and in case of their absence, the machine stops working.

A PowerEdge logical drive fails sometimes because of an inappropriate security setup. In some cases, the security system of the machine is not perfect. It does not detect the viruses and the other malfunctions. That causes the problem and corrupts the files of the logical drives. These files stopped working because they are getting harm by the attack of the viruses. These corrupted files also incorporate in the failure of the drive. Try to avoid downloading the unknown files and the software because sometimes when there is a clash between these files and systems then it can also cause the destruction of the system and of course the destruction of files too. That can lead towards severe loss of data from the computer. Click here for important tips for recovering Dell PowerEdge RAID servers.

The Deciding Factors When Choosing Data Recovery In Irvine

Whether you have lost the file due to deletion or dangerous virus infections, data recovery in Irvine can help you solve the problem. If you have plenty of companies to choose from, you need to set some criteria, as this will get you in the right direction. As much as possible, you should not trust a company that seems too good to be true. You should have a brief background about the company and if they seem to be shady about their identity, then you should already consider this a warning signal. When dealing with a company specializing in data recovery in Irvine, make sure that they know what they are doing.

It is not enough that they provide you information about the steps in recovering your files because it is also important that they yield positive and long term results. You should not be afraid to ask them questions and if they seem to be hesitant to answer the questions, it means that they are not willing to provide you information. You must also check the website as this is where you will usually come across customer reviews, which can serve as a deciding factor of the hiring process. Data recovery will be quick and easy if you deal with the right company.

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Sometimes, Avoiding The Popular Product Works http://www.leandrodonofrio.com/sometimes-avoiding-the-popular-product-works/ http://www.leandrodonofrio.com/sometimes-avoiding-the-popular-product-works/#respond Tue, 23 Feb 2016 07:10:30 +0000 http://www.leandrodonofrio.com/?p=33 tgypWhen Paul Morgan began evaluating push technology products last January, he had one top priority: anything but PointCast. Like many a corporate Webmaster, Morgan had experienced firsthand the pitfalls of the wildly popular screen-saver-cum-automatic-newsfeed, including high bandwidth consumption, interference with user productivity applications and the distraction of ads. There had to be a better way.

As Web site engineer for GTE Corp.’s Information Services Division, Morgan was looking for a way to push out project-management information to GTE’s staff in a real-time, noninvasive way. Project-management data is crucial for systems integrator GTE, which services government and private industry. Morgan wanted critical information such as a certain financial threshold being reached (for example, a project about to go over budget) or changes in project deliverables (such as a project about to go over deadline) in decision makers’ hands as soon as …

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tgypWhen Paul Morgan began evaluating push technology products last January, he had one top priority: anything but PointCast. Like many a corporate Webmaster, Morgan had experienced firsthand the pitfalls of the wildly popular screen-saver-cum-automatic-newsfeed, including high bandwidth consumption, interference with user productivity applications and the distraction of ads. There had to be a better way.

As Web site engineer for GTE Corp.’s Information Services Division, Morgan was looking for a way to push out project-management information to GTE’s staff in a real-time, noninvasive way. Project-management data is crucial for systems integrator GTE, which services government and private industry. Morgan wanted critical information such as a certain financial threshold being reached (for example, a project about to go over budget) or changes in project deliverables (such as a project about to go over deadline) in decision makers’ hands as soon as possible. Morgan also wanted the ability to have automatic desktop delivery of competitive information from external newsfeeds to marketing and analytic personnel.

“We wanted something a little more emphatic than E-mail,” said Morgan. “Call it E-mail on steroids.”

It made sense to distribute the information using one of the intriguing new push products on the division’s brand-new intranet, which was being rolled out to 700 users at the Chantilly, Va., site and to 350 off-site users. Although there were already a few hundred regular users of the PointCast Network at ISD, Morgan wanted to go elsewhere for push capabilities–with an eye toward eventually banning PointCast, or at least discouraging its use at the company.

Morgan, along with his boss, Irv Zacks, vice president and general manager of ISD, was looking for something that would avoid the downfalls of PointCast and be much more closely tailored to distribute business information. “We didn’t want extraneous or distracting information,” Morgan said.

PointCast’s use of advertisements were a particular bugaboo. “They distract users. And we didn’t want to dedicate corporate bandwidth to someone else’s message. It is simply desktop real estate that should be used for business applications,” Morgan added.

“The ad-based model sets the stage for conflict between a company’s interests and PointCast’s interests. That is why a lot of the [push] companies targeting the intranet space are using different revenue models,” said Ross Scott Rubin, group director of Consumer Internet Technologies for Jupiter Communications Inc., in New York. “PointCast is under a lot of pressure to offer a different version with a modified client that would allow companies to filter the ads or do away with them altogether.”

Examining the alternatives

Zacks gave Morgan the directive that whatever product they chose must have links to external news sources to get competitive information–with no ads. Then he stepped back and let Morgan play the field.

Morgan looked at BackWeb Technologies Inc.’s BackWeb, Intermind Corp.’s Intermind Communicator, Marimba Inc.’s Castanet and Wayfarer Communications Inc.’s Incisa. Morgan was intrigued by all these products, but he was most impressed with Incisa. An important point of differentiation was that the Wayfarer application appeared to be well-positioned to work with and augment both Netscape Communications Corp.’s Netcaster and Microsoft Corp.’s Active Desktop (both of which will contain push capabilities). Netcaster is due in the third quarter; delivery for Active Desktop has not yet been announced. Zacks wanted to be sure that GTE would not lose its “institutional investment” in implementing a push product only to have it supplanted by the Netscape and Microsoft offerings, he said.

“Wayfarer was adroit at playing both camps, and that was a major difference between the products,” Morgan said. And at $25,000 for a 1,000-seat license, Incisa did not break the bank. The decision was made: Wayfarer Incisa was the one.

During the evaluation period, Morgan also grudgingly evaluated–and even purchased–PointCast Inc.’s $995 I-server, which minimizes the amount of PointCast traffic entering the corporate firewall and also lets network administrators filter the types of content accessed by users. The I-server also can be used to broadcast business data over the intranet, but adding to a general anti-PointCast animus at the company, Morgan did not like the fact that there would only be one GTE ISD channel with all other channels controlled by PointCast. “Through gritted teeth, we bought the I-server to control the most outrageous [PointCast] use,” he said.

Not PointCast, InfoCast

Since the rollout began in March, 225 employees have been given access to Incisa, which GTE ISD has christened “InfoCast.” Users have the option of receiving information as a screensaver, a “headlink” (a headline with links to intranet stories) or a banner on the bottom of the screen. Morgan said his group recommends that users not elect the screensaver option because this will tie up the system for a few seconds before going back to the user application. This is one of Incisa’s few weaknesses, said Morgan, and it affects even systems running at 166MHz to 200MHz.

GTE ISD users report that it is not annoying or obtrusive to receive headlinks because the information occupies a small space on the screen, only about 2.5 by 3.5 inches. Incisa includes a Shockwave animation sequence to get users’ attention. But, so far, this has remained a relatively staid, corporate type of animation, rather than an eye-popping cartoon. “We’ve been fairly conservative so far with the animations” in keeping with the goal of not unduly distracting users, Morgan said.

Incisa pushes data from one of four sources: GTE ISD project-management databases; external news sources (such as Reuters, PR News Wire, Cnet and InfoSeek); “reporters” (individuals such as human resources managers who are empowered to push out news flashes); and “Web alerts” (a new capability through which users will receive only new material from selected Internet pages).

Morgan and his users are anxiously awaiting the addition of several extra news sources, which are due soon. Wayfarer has been somewhat slow to add an InfoSeek search capability through which users can input a search and automatically receive updated results sent every time the results of the query change. “We are anxious to see how they’re going to incorporate search capabilities,” Morgan said.

GTE network managers, for their part, are very happy with the minimal effect Incisa has on the network. “It is very gentle on network bandwidth. The notifications are quite small [a few kilobytes], even with the Shockwave animations,” said Morgan.

Now at issue: the decision of whether or not to formally forbid PointCast. Morgan and Zacks are evaluating this issue and will come to a decision by the end of the month. “We’ll either come to a complete ban, or it will be culturally frowned upon,” Morgan said.

Morgan is hoping the additional news feeds Wayfarer will be adding will be enough to satisfy users’ “CNN need,” he said. He isn’t too optimistic about eradicating users’ human thirst for nonbusiness information, however. Said Morgan, “There may be a residual batch of people who need to know about those bus turnovers in Peru.”

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IBM’s Support Tools Made The Brand http://www.leandrodonofrio.com/ibms-support-tools-made-the-brand/ http://www.leandrodonofrio.com/ibms-support-tools-made-the-brand/#respond Thu, 18 Feb 2016 06:56:13 +0000 http://www.leandrodonofrio.com/?p=29 ibmstIBM is readying a new suite of knowledge-based support tools for its corporate and retail customers that diagnose system problems, recommend solutions and provide troubleshooting via the Web.

The Web-based tools, which will be announced within the next four to six weeks, are part of a broad plan to enhance IBM’s worldwide customer support and service infrastructure. The ultimate goal is to enable customers to more easily access support resources and resolve problems with IBM hardware, officials said last week during a briefing at the company’s HelpCenter technical support operations here.

The tools, which will be bundled on the company’s notebooks, desktops and servers and offered via its Web site, use logic to identify a customer’s system problem and recommend appropriate solutions. If the fixes involve software, such as BIOS updates, drivers or patches, they can be automatically downloaded …

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ibmstIBM is readying a new suite of knowledge-based support tools for its corporate and retail customers that diagnose system problems, recommend solutions and provide troubleshooting via the Web.

The Web-based tools, which will be announced within the next four to six weeks, are part of a broad plan to enhance IBM’s worldwide customer support and service infrastructure. The ultimate goal is to enable customers to more easily access support resources and resolve problems with IBM hardware, officials said last week during a briefing at the company’s HelpCenter technical support operations here.

The tools, which will be bundled on the company’s notebooks, desktops and servers and offered via its Web site, use logic to identify a customer’s system problem and recommend appropriate solutions. If the fixes involve software, such as BIOS updates, drivers or patches, they can be automatically downloaded to the customer’s system.

IBM’s moves are part of a trend among hardware and software vendors to reduce the time customers spend calling technical support lines. It’s a theme that resonates with many IT professionals.

“This could probably eliminate 80 percent of the support calls,” said Fred Erickson, director of technology and automation for Phoenix-based Avnet Computer Marketing Group, a division of Avnet Inc. “Certainly, in our notebook deployment, [Web-based support tools] would be a great vehicle for our users when they can’t get into our help desk.”

IBM’s new support tools will be tightly integrated with the HelpCenter’s Lotus Notes-based customer service database, called LENA (Leading Edge Network Application). The tools will tap into the database’s service history for each customer, along with a list of known problems associated with the customer’s system.

For instance, when a customer logs in to the HelpCenter’s Web site, his or her system and its specifications are automatically identified by serial number. The customer then types in the suspected problem using a customized search engine, and the database generates a list of recommended solutions.

“It takes it to the next stage where the system does the work for you,” said David Williams, vice president of marketing and support for IBM Personal Computer Co., in Somers, N.Y. “The tools help customers help themselves.”

As part of its Web-based tools development, IBM will offer an enhanced version of its Update Connector software designed for corporate notebooks and desktop PCs. Update Connector, which currently is available only on certain retail desktop PCs and IBM’s new ThinkPad 385D notebooks, lets users connect to the HelpCenter Web site, query the center’s database for a list of software updates for their specific machines and then download the necessary drivers and files.

IBM’s HelpCenter offers 7-by-24 support and has a 2,500-person staff that handles 600,000 calls per month at eight call centers worldwide. During the past two years, IBM has spent more than $250 million bolstering its worldwide support and service infrastructure as it seeks to lead the charge into new venues for support, such as the Web.

Other PC makers offer varying levels of Web-based support. Dell Computer Corp., for example, offers customers more than 35,000 pages of troubleshooting information via its Web site, where users also can download software upgrades, BIOS updates and drivers free of charge. In addition, the Round Rock, Texas, company offers a customer “premier” page in which customers can access Dell service and support team members’ phone numbers, E-mail addresses and pager numbers.

The Internet-based technical support services from Compaq Computer Corp., of Houston, enable users to post questions to support personnel, download software from an FTP site and access product and service information.

IBM’s new Web-based support tools

* New electronic support tools make it easier for users to access IBM’s HelpCenter Web site

* Once at the site, the tools enable users to query the IBM LENA (Leading Edge Network Application) database for problems.

* The tools diagnose problems and recommend solutions.

* A corporate version of IBM’s Update Connector software will be preloaded in IBM commercial notebooks and desktops. The software lets users automatically download updated BIOS and drivers from the HelpCenter.

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Government Gains Efficiency With Strong Intranet Design http://www.leandrodonofrio.com/government-gains-efficiency-with-strong-intranet-design/ http://www.leandrodonofrio.com/government-gains-efficiency-with-strong-intranet-design/#respond Sun, 14 Feb 2016 17:16:20 +0000 http://www.leandrodonofrio.com/?p=7 sdeinnWith the PC explosion in the late ’80s and early ’90s, the California Department of Education encountered a problem faced by many companies and organizations: Although PCs empowered end users, the spread of information resources to the desktop hindered the department from getting an enterprisewide view of its data.

As a result, state legislators had trouble finding the financial, demographic and performance data about students that is necessary for making informed policy decisions. That situation didn’t change until the department adopted an Internet/intranet solution to easily access this complex mass of information.

“Certainly, companies want to set a single standard [for handling data], and intranets are a practical method,” said Matt Nerney, an analyst at Aberdeen Group, a consultancy in Boston. “It’s not as difficult to get people to move in that direction, because they see the benefits of an …

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sdeinnWith the PC explosion in the late ’80s and early ’90s, the California Department of Education encountered a problem faced by many companies and organizations: Although PCs empowered end users, the spread of information resources to the desktop hindered the department from getting an enterprisewide view of its data.

As a result, state legislators had trouble finding the financial, demographic and performance data about students that is necessary for making informed policy decisions. That situation didn’t change until the department adopted an Internet/intranet solution to easily access this complex mass of information.

“Certainly, companies want to set a single standard [for handling data], and intranets are a practical method,” said Matt Nerney, an analyst at Aberdeen Group, a consultancy in Boston. “It’s not as difficult to get people to move in that direction, because they see the benefits of an …

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