Friday, July 11, 2008

I'm officially the proud and happy owner of a white 16GB iPhone 3G. I'm about to head out to the store to take care of all the other stuff I need to get done today, so I will have a chance to check out the GPS and 3G network stuff shortly.

I arrived at about 7am at the Apple Store at the Flat Iron Crossing mall in Broomfield, Colorado. About 150 people were already there by the time I arrived, and the numbers just kept on adding up as the morning wore on.

There were a lot of first-time-iPhone-purchasers as well as upgraders in line. I figured it was about a 50-50 mix. The Apple store staff said they had lots of iPhones in stock. At 8am, an army of crazed, screaming Apple Store employees came running from the parking lot where they'd staged themselves, past the crowded line and into the store, trying for high-fives along the way. It was the most excited group of retail workers I've ever seen, to be certain.

The iPhone-stock situation at the Apple stores, however, contrasted drastically with what we were hearing on Twitter about the people in line at the AT&T stores, where stock on hand seemed to be very limited and lines were also long. Word was each AT&T store had about 60 phones or so. Not so at Apple stores, where managers said they had enough to cover the crowds.

Almost as soon as 8am rolled around things went south. The first of the line moved into the store and shortly after is when things stopped. Rumors started to trickle out that the activation system was failing. The situation improved somewhat, until an hour later when the system again failed (likely as a result of the west cost stores opening). The store manager came out to address the crowd and explained the situation (quite effectively, I might add - Apple has a great crew at the store I visited), telling us what was happening with surprising transparency and apologizing for the delay. He thanked us for waiting and our "dedication," and came back out to give updates. At about 10am local time, the situation improved substantially and people started getting their phones in a more-timely manner.

As it turned out, we were not leaving the store with fully activated iPhones as expected. In fact, I got mine at 10:55 a.m., but when I walked out of the store it was still sealed in the plastic-wrapped box. Apparently Apple decided to ditch the in-store iTunes activation dance and instead started sending people home to activate their new devices on iTunes themselves. Good call. In the store they took my information and changed my service over with AT&T, which went smoothly (go figure - AT&T's money grab was slick as snot, heh). My old iPhone went out-of-service with AT&T about 20 minutes later and I so was without a phone until I could get back home to activate the new one.

There were around 200 people in line when I left. Good thing the process was moving faster.

At home, I was able to activate my new phone in less than 30 minutes. It took a while for iTunes to make its initial connection, but once that happened it was a quick and painless process. No bricked phone or anything, and after restoring my backup from the old iPhone I was all set.

Bonus info: I got an email from Telenav this morning explaining they're working now on an iPhone version of their GPS mapping software - Quite excellent! That mean we'll soon have high-quality, turn-by-turn GPS navigation on the iPhone before too long! No delivery dates or other promises (of course), but the app is in the development process. Details are at Gizmodo, and the Telenav blog is a good place to keep your eyes open for future information.

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Apple | Geek Out | Tech
Friday, July 11, 2008 1:21:40 PM (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00)
 Thursday, July 10, 2008

I arrived in Colorado this afternoon, plugged in my iPhone, backed it up, installed iTunes 7.7 and grabbed the iPhone v2.0 software from Apple's servers (it's out there, although iTunes is not yet advertising it here). I found the Apps listings in iTunes and decided it was about time to upgrade. So, I hooked up the iPhone and promptly fell asleep on the couch while it did it's thing upgrading.

I woke up to the sound of "bliiihdeep!" from the phone and a little "thunk" as it slid on the countertop from where I had it propped up against my Macbook Air (strategically placed so a vibration would make it move, hence alerting me to activity during the lengthy upgrade process). I went to the phone, restored the backup from iTunes, and BAM! There I was, iPhone 2.0 software ready to go.

Once I jumped onto the wireless network at the house, I launched the app store and started looking at programs. The first one I tried was Twitterific. It's pretty okay, but all else being equal I wish I still had Twinkle on there as an app. I'm sure it will be available soon enough.

I installed Google's search app (very cool), the Paypal app (kinda cool, very spartan), and the Weatherbug ap (because those guys rock and their screenshot actually looked interesting - and it's a great little app). Last, I found the Pandora app.

Now, I have written about Pandora here before, long long ago. It's just as amazing a service today as it was then. Simply put, you start pff by providing an artist or two or three that you like and Pandora starts playing music of a similar nature that it "thinks" you'll like. You can vote individual songs/pieces up or down and it refines its recommendations. And Pandora's app on the iPhone let me log into my Pandora account instantly, within seconds, and literally ten seconds later it was streaming my music channels to me over the air.

Incredibly usable, simple, effective. Pure usability bliss.

I showed it to my mom. She instantly lit up and said, I quote: "Wow!" The thing about Pandora is I can explain it to anyone in about 20 seconds and they always "get it." They've done something - perhaps everything - right.

That made me think. My mom just found out she will have to be spending some substantial time in the hospital soon. When I showed her the Pandora application, after she showed her sense of amazement, she got pained look on her face and asked me if I would show her how to transfer files to her (crappy) MP3 player. The device is next to unusable. Even I have a hard time getting it to work. There's nothing good about it. So, tomorrow when I am out picking up a new iPhone 3G, I'm going to grab an iPod touch for my mom. And then ship my old iPhone to my friend Chris (whose shipping address I need in order to do that BTW, hint-hint).

My wish list for more apps? I was pretty disappointed to not find a blog authoring application, something similar to Windows Live Writer but trimmed down and made for the iPhone. Maybe I just need to learn how to program this stuff, but that's a scary thought. Someone better than me must be working on a blogging app. There's a good one available in the app store for TextPad, but that doesn't really help me since I don't use that platform for my blog.

So, iPhone software v2.0 has convinced me to but an iPod Touch for my mom. Once again, the ball's been hit out of the park.

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Apple | Mobile | Tech
Thursday, July 10, 2008 3:19:09 PM (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00)

Microsoft has released Hyper-V for Windows Server 2008, which is the company's hypervisor virtualization platform. With it, you get multi-OS, highly-configurable and performant virtualized hardware capabilities on the Windows platform.

Windows Server 2008 Hyper-V, the next-generation hypervisor-based server virtualization technology, allows you to make the best use of your server hardware investments by consolidating multiple server roles as separate virtual machines (VMs) running on a single physical machine. With Hyper-V, you can also efficiently run multiple different operating systems—Windows, Linux, and others—in parallel, on a single server, and fully leverage the power of x64 computing.

For additional information, you might want to check out a RunAs Radio episode that Richard Campbell and I published back in April, when we spoke with Anil Desai on the topic of Hyper-V. Anil compared Hyper-V to ESX Server from VMWare and discussed the Microsoft offering in some detail.

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Thursday, July 10, 2008 4:15:59 AM (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00)
 Wednesday, July 09, 2008

In the past we've seen many computer-focused terms become words of the year and find placement in the dictionary, and this year is no different. Remember last year when "truthiness" (a Stephen Colbert-ism) made it in, along with "google?"

So, here it is, Merriam-Webster's #1 Word of the Year for 2007 based on votes from visitors to their Web site:

w00t (interjection)
expressing joy (it could be after a triumph, or for no reason at all); similar in use to the word "yay"
w00t! I won the contest!

Other words that made up their top-ten-votes list for the year include: facebook, 
sardoodle, dom
, hypocrite, and 

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Random Stuff
Wednesday, July 09, 2008 8:30:40 AM (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00)
 Wednesday, July 02, 2008

You have firewalls and anti-malware system, video surveillance and monitoring systems for network traffic to and from the Internet. But look at eWeek's semi-smart list of the top ten infosec risks workers pose to your business today, and you may need to rethink your plans.

I call this a "semi-smart" list because it's practical and real-world, and doesn't assume the "standards" out there cover all the bases. But, at the same time it doesn't offer much in the way of solutions, which always frustrates me (and it misses some key points, especially related to intentional worker behavior, as opposed to neglect, and how it can substantially enhance the potential associated with these risks).

Point is, each of the items pointed out is very much worth considering and reviewing in your business security program. Just don't forget to look at them in the big-picture perspective of the business.

And now for the list:

  • USB Flash Drives
  • Laptops
  • P2P
  • Web Mail
  • Wi-Fi
  • Smart Phones
  • Collaboration Tools
  • Social Networks
  • Unauthorized Software Updates
  • Virtual Worlds

Pretty much every modern technical productivity enhancer. Before anyone starts screaming the alarmist song, think about not only how these things can be used for good, but also about how they could be used to to Very Bad Things.

How many of those technologies are specifically and can be proven effectively covered under your infosec policies? How many have you tested in the real world to see what your compliance profile really looks like? Could you meaningfully test for these threats, even if they were on your plan?

You can check out the eWeek article here.

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IT Security | Tech
Wednesday, July 02, 2008 10:09:37 PM (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00)

Google Talk is now available on the iPhone in the Safari browser. At the Google Mobile blog, the details are laid out. If you use Google Apps for your domain and have the Talk app activated there, word is you can access it, too using this URL syntax:

"We've just released in the US a new version of Google Talk designed specifically for the iPhone and iPod Touch browsers. In addition to sending your friends Gmail messages from your iPhone, you can now chat with them while you're on the move, too! In your iPhone browser, just go to, sign in and start chatting. That's it. Google Talk runs entirely in the browser so there's no need to download or install anything."

Announcement: Official Google Mobile Blog: Google Talk for the iPhone

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Apple | Mobile | Tech
Wednesday, July 02, 2008 8:49:12 PM (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00)