A Business Technology Place

Click-to-run video and ad content in 2017

Most of the time when I browse and consume content on internet pages I’m trying to scan and read. Ads and videos that automatically start playing are more of a nuisance. They produce noise, delay the page from loading, and require I scroll through the page to stop them.  Last year I disabled flash player content from playing automatically in my Chrome browser by disabling plugin in the settings.

To do this type following in the web address bar: chrome://plugins/

Then disable the player but make sure the box is checked to allow it to run.

Now a page that has videos that automatically load displays this

Microsoft, Google, and Mozilla have announced plans to disable flash by default on future releases of their browsers. The reasons that drive this decision are performance and security. I’d like to add nuisance reduction as well 😉


Onward and upward!

Compete or get left behind


This story about Eugene Kaspersky complaining about Microsoft including antivirus software with Windows 10 touched a nerve. I had flashbacks to the litigation against Microsoft and Internet Explorer bundling in the late 1990s. Fast forward 16 years later from the browser showdown and we see that Internet Explorer is currently only the third most widely used browser in the market. That doesn’t sound like a monopoly to me.

Could there be parallels to this story and a lesson for Kaspersky? What happens when like-products compete on value, ease of use, and reputation in the marketplace? There’s plenty of room for competition in anti-virus software market too. Will the best antivirus packages step forward?


In my experience helping friends with personal computer issues at home, I found that most have the antivirus installed that was bundled with the computer. But typically the free trial subscription has expired. That’s certainly not a scientific study and my sample size doesn’t register as adequate. But I’m guessing many people are like that. Microsoft is helping consumers that are not tech savvy by providing automatic antivirus updates and a base level of protection. I see this as a good thing.doctorpc


There is opportunity for other competitors in this space. Just like the browsers in the late 1990s companies may have to rethink how they connect with customers. The topic of computer viruses is touchy and consumers are wary of a barrage of pop-ups asking for money and subscription renewals.

So let competition find the real players. Build something better. Build something simple. Build something that adds value and builds a reputation of trust.

Onward and upward!


Photo credit: Intel Free Press via Creative Commons

Infinite Storage

I received an email this week from Google with their latest offer on cloud storage. It’s a good one, targeted at business and group users of the Google Apps platform.

Google Apps, now with infinite space    

We’re excited to announce a new option for Google Apps customers: the full suite of productivity tools plus unlimited* file storage and Vault to protect critical business information. It’s a simple way for teams to share, sync and access all their files from everywhere.

For $10/user/month, upgrade now to Google Apps with unlimited storage and Vault. It also includes other business features to help your organization grow, like 99.9% guaranteed email uptime, 24/7 customer support and the freedom to add as many users as you want. To make the switch, sign in to your Admin console and click Upgrade now. Then click Billing and select Upgrade to Google Apps Unlimited. Please note that downgrading to Google Apps without unlimited storage is not an option at this time.

Wow! “Infinite storage”.  What a title. I can just see the Google marketing team grinning ear-to-ear when they received approval for that offer. It’s not surprising to me though. As space devices have become cheaper, online providers like Google, Apple, and Microsoft have lowered their cloud storage prices and increased the amount of space consumers and businesses get for free.

When I was in college in the early 90s a professor told us that in the future the hardware would be free as a commodity and people would pay for the value in the software.  Computer prices have definitely dropped since then, although not quite to free. But now I see his statement coming true in terms of disk space.

What’s really driving cloud storage is the ability of our electronic devices to share and pull from the same storage. Phone, laptop, tablet, and computer can all pull from the same storage. So cloud storage is really like universal storage. It’s fast, cheap, and easy.  The question is which eco-system will we live in? Google, Amazon, Microsoft, Apple, and others are all competing for our attention.  That competition is now bringing us “infinite storage” offers.  Sweet! To infinity and beyond!

Finding the search tab in Outlook 2010

I recently stumbled across the advanced search features in Outlook 2010. To be fair I haven’t been using Outlook for too many months. My corporate email was Lotus Notes for the past 15 years and I use gmail at home. Here is my default view of the Outlook 2010 inbox with the search box that I’ve been using marked:

Outlook 1

What I didn’t notice is that when I would click in the search box then the advanced search tab appears (it’s invisible on the default view). My eye focus was so drawn to the search filter and results that I went months without noticing all the advanced search features.

Outlook 2

The feature I had been looking for was how to search all folders. Finally I can search once instead of looking through individual folders! Looking at it now on the screen it’s so obvious that the tool bar and features are there. It goes to show the power of focused attention. I guess this was suppose to be intuitive. So I failed the test. :-O

Windows 8. I get it now.

Do you understand Windows 8?
I upgraded a machine with Windows 8 Preview to Windows 8 Pro over the weekend. The preview copies from Microsoft have a January 2013 expiration date, so I had to do this at some point or abandon my preview. I did enjoy playing with Windows 8 and captured my initial thoughts back in August with a post entitled Microsoft’s bold new move.

It’s not surprising that the Metro style interfaceof Windows 8 has created a buzz with tech media and bloggers. It is a dramatically new look for the Windows desktop that everyone is comfortable using. Change creates opinions.

The start page of Windows 8. Tiled application blocks.

But it’s not a dramatically new look if you think about the devices that most of us are using more and more of these days. As I was setting up applications on the Metro style start page a light went off in my head. I already recognized the new design was made with tablets and mobile devices in mind because the design is much easier to navigate with a touch screen.  But before today, I was focused on the difference in the user interface as departure of the traditional PC interface. Now I see that Windows 8 is Microsoft’s way to begin to transition the PC experience to be identical to the mobile and tablet experience. The idea is that regardless of which device you use, you can still maintain the same experience. With the heavy reliance and interactivity on a Microsoft online account, it’s possible to keep much of the same content inside the experience as well (“To the cloud!”).

There’s an app for that.
In a world known for multi-taksing we have become comfortable with a mobile interface that encourages uni-tasking. Our phones and tablets can support multiple running programs. But think about how we typically use these devices. That would be one application at a time. Find your app tile, click it, and go. Even though that’s mostly driven by space considerations (you can’t have multiple windows showing on your phone), the Metro start page for Windows 8 follows the same design principles.

What does it mean for the business customer?
I still believe Microsoft’s biggest challenge with the new interface will be in business adoption. Productivity and efficiency are key considerations for business usage of computing devices. Creating change is like creating disruption and business leaders don’t like disruption to their environment.

Think about the multi-tasking model of the traditional Windows environments. You can have multiple Windows open and bounce back and forth between them. That’s not really the model of the application tile interface. So it’s good that Microsoft left a way to get the traditional desktop in Windows 8. This will help make adoption and transition within the business environment smoother.

Navigation with a keyboard and mouse will be a challenge.
Try as a I might, I have found it awkward to push the mouse to the corners of the screen for menus. So I printed out a list of the Windows 8 keyboard shortcuts to help get the menus to appear faster. Others may not be as patient as I am and I’m already a keyboard junkie from early days in Unix.

Do I get it?
So when you think Windows 8 think about your phone.  Think about apps and tiles. That’s what it’s really about.

BTW – In case you were wondering, I haven’t given up my beloved Ubuntu Linux device. My Windows machine is a secondary device used mostly by other family members.