Category Archives: Tech Reviews

Smackdown: Office 365 vs. G Suite management

Posted by on 16 March, 2017

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When you choose a productivity platform like Microsoft’s Office 365 or Google’s G Suite, the main focus is on the platform’s functionality: Does it do the job you need?

That’s of course critical, but once you choose a platform, you have to manage it. That’s why management capabilities should be part of your evaluation of a productivity and collaboration platform, not only its user-facing functionality.

You’ve come to the right place for that aspect of choosing between Office 365 and Google G Suite.

Admin console UI. Both the Office 365 and G Suite admin consoles are well designed, providing clean separation of management functions and clear settings labels, so you can quickly move to the settings you want and apply them.

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(Insider Story)

Review: MongoDB learns cool new tricks

Posted by on 15 March, 2017

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MongoDB 3.4 continues the trend of databases building out support for a range of conceptual data models over the same underlying data store. This multimodel approach aims to deliver a single database that can be used to store data as documents, tables, and graphs simultaneously. The benefit to the user is a dramatically simplified infrastructure when compared to a polyglot persistence model, which might entail managing three or four separate data stores to satisfy those different use cases.

MongoDB 3.4 introduces the ability to perform recursive graph queries. It was co-released last November with version 2.0 of the BI connector, which provides the ability to query MongoDB using a SQL interface through tools like Tableau and Qlik. Also, aggregation operators were added to greatly enhance the ease and performance of facet-style interactions.

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Review: Microsoft Teams almost as bad as its beta

Posted by on 14 March, 2017

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For months now, we’ve been hearing about Microsoft Teams, Microsoft’s much-heralded Slack killer for corporate chat. It’s now in official release (what Microsoft calls “general availability”) as part of Microsoft’s Office 365 enterprise plans. Sadly, Teams is underwhelming in its formal debut and definitely not a match for the hype Microsoft has been providing since October 2016. For a product so late to market, Microsoft should have delivered much more.

We all know Yammer was a massive failure, and Teams is meant to bury that corpse and present us a replacement. In the meantime, Slack has gained a strong following because it is a great product that works well, is highly capable, and runs on any device you might use. It’s very easy to get addicted to Slack, and it’s set a high bar. (Atlassian’s HipChat is capable, but nowhere near as well designed as Slack. That may be why the new Hangouts Chat for G Suite users, expected in May or June, at first blush looks so Slack-like.)

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Review: QNAP TVS-882T NAS piles on the features

Posted by on 9 March, 2017

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We’ve seen a steady flow of multifunction NAS boxes over the years. What began as relatively straightforward uses of Linux software RAID and mildly customized hardware has blossomed into a crop of multifaceted appliances that sport a full-on rampage of capabilities. In some cases, the NAS functionality may be one of the more minor considerations. QNAP’s TVS-882T is a prime example of this new class of NAS.

The TVS-882T supports a plethora of software features, starting with the usual stable of open source packages like MariaDB, Apache, Node.js, and PHP and extending to virtualization and containers and beyond. The TVS-882T works with many types of surveillance cameras and can serve as a print server, media server, VPN server, and RADIUS authentication server, as well as an FTP and web server. It can even serve as a host for virtual machines and containers.

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Smackdown: Office 365 vs. G Suite collaboration

Posted by on 8 March, 2017

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Ever since I can remember, Silicon Valley has been enamored with the idea of group editing of documents. Very little good writing gets done that way, of course. It’s like the joke that a camel is a horse designed by committee. 

But collaboration around documents is immensely useful, so people can share ideas, suggest revisions, and provide other feedback to the document writer or editor to incorporate into the final result. Even simultaneous multiuser access has its place, such as for documents that track progress or schedules and documents that contain boilerplate information for group use.

Google made document collaboration a hallmark many years ago in its G Suite, then called Google Apps, letting people share documents via the web with other users for both collaborative editing and read-only distribution. That eliminated the problem inherent in both paper and email copies of each person needing to track which version is the most recent—and ensuring that they have it.

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13 reasons not to use Chrome

Posted by on 2 March, 2017

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OK, we’re kidding a bit. Chrome is great. Google did a wonderful job with it—and continues improving it every day. The marketplace recognizes this, and many surveys show Chrome is the most popular browser by far.

It’s not hard to see why. Chrome is stable, in part because its architects made a smart decision to put each web page in a separate process. It has excellent HTML5 standards support, loads of extensions, synchronization across computers, and tight integration with Google’s cloud services. All of these reasons and more make Chrome the popular choice.

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Review: Visual Studio 2017 is the best ever

Posted by on 1 March, 2017

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ed choice plumInfoWorld

Two years ago, when I reviewed Visual Studio 2015, I came away thinking that Microsoft’s IDE had become the most complicated product ever, and Microsoft would have to simplify it in the future. I was wrong in one respect: Although Microsoft threw out a few features for Visual Studio 2017, it added a great deal more. But sure enough, Microsoft managed to deliver a simpler—and nimbler—IDE in Visual Studio 2017, despite increasing its capabilities.

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(Insider Story)

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