Santa Fe Tech course – Friday, June 21st, 2019

Jun 12
2019

Counts for 4 hours of Core Ethics for all NM Licensees

SFAR-AdvCourse-Drones-06212019

Windows 8 is not for the power user

Mar 08
2013

 

This posting is a reprint of an article I wrote for the Journal of Property Management which can be found on IREM‘s website.  A PDF copy can be found here.

 

 

I’ve had a chance to play with the pre-release and official copies of Windows 8 and while I appreciate the amount of work it must have taken to engineer this
newest version of Windows, I do not intend to upgrade any of my machines.

For the purposes of this article, I will define a “power user” as anyone who uses 2 or more applications at a time. The new interface is attractive and informative, but as a power user, it is just I my way to getting work done and at the end of the day really adds little value to being more efficient.

Where to Start?
Ideally, the next operating system interface would build on and enhance what you already know. After years of training us to go to the “start menu” to find our programs, Windows 8 has erased it (fear not, there is an $4.99 app for that – http://www.stardock.com/products/start8/index.asp ), which reminds me of the less efficient Microsoft Office Ribbon that ate our menus (but fortunately not the shortcut keys).

Power Power user
You may have seen my office setup (http://www.canteraconsultants.com/tech/?p=1064 ) before and know that not only do I run more than 2 apps, I run more than 4 computers spread across 9 monitors, something that Windows 7 made a joy, and Windows 8 makes unnecessarily difficult (http://www.engadget.com/2012/11/01/windows-8-upgrade-diary-3/ )

Getting Work Done
Most of my work involves reading something the client (or a 3rd party) has generated, processing it, analyzing it, and incorporating it into a new document. I often run Adobe Acrobat (where I have my clients document in digital format), side by side with Excel, Word, Publisher, Outlook (for calendaring), Internet Explorer, Evernote and many others. I often have half a dozen apps running at the same time as I do research, crunch numbers, and write content.

To get the Windows 8 to be as efficient and productive, I need to go into Desktop mode (a couple of clicks or swipes) first. Essentially, Microsoft has just added another layer between me and my work.

Bloat
The Windows 8 devices are starting to ship with less harddrive space, reflecting the ongoing trend to use the faster and more reliable solid state drives. So a 64 gig to 128 gig drive is common. Since 23 years of business data and paperless office takes up almost 100 gigs, that doesn’t leave enough room to work. In fact, it has been reported that the Windows 8 Operating System takes up twice as much space as Windows 7 (http://www.pcworld.com/article/2017824/surface-with-windows-8-pro-what-we-still-dont-know.html ).

Bottom line, it’s a move backwards.

Hands off!
After spending a lifetime of telling my kids not to touch the monitors or big screen tvs, now Windows 8 encourages touching. Not only do I not want to take my hands off my desk to touch, I don’t really want to look at finger prints all day long. We have a touch screen all in one computer that has Windows 8 and its monitor looks like a finger painting kindergartener attacked it!

Back to the office
Never fear, as though torpedoing their largest source of income wasn’t bad enough, the upcoming Office 2013 (or Office 15, or just Office Office), has some new features (http://www.microsoft.com/office/preview/en), but drops the ever popular Microsoft Publisher (which is one of the main apps I use that keeps me from just booting into the Mac mode all day).

Confusion
If the target audience for the newest version of Windows is the new user, then explaining to them that Windows 8 Phone (http://www.engadget.com/2012/10/29/windows-phone-8-review/) is a different operating system than Windows 8 RT (that runs on the recently released ad uber cool Microsoft Surface http://www.microsoft.com/Surface/en-US) neither of which runs legacy applications like Windows 8 Pro does (Surface running Pro to be released in 2013 http://www.microsoft.com/Surface/en-US/surface-with-windows-8-pro/home ). This reminds me of the 6 different versions of Windows Vista that Microsoft released (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Windows_Vista_editions) and the public’s inability to tell them apart.

It also reminds me of the marketing/branding flop of Adobe Acrobat (I’m amazing at how much time I spend in classes explaining to the audience, that the free version of Adobe Acrobat will not do the things they need for a paperless office that the paid version of Adobe Acrobat does.)

A tablet is not an laptop
I love my iPads and spend quite a bit of time reading, surfing and being entertained with them. They make great devices to replace paper (Good reader rocks for this), and carry documents, but they in no way come close to being a replacement for my excel, word, and publisher driven work style.

The Surface, appears to want to be both, without doing a good job of either.

How to survive when you’ve missed the mark
If you do need to run Windows 8 you might check out this Windows 8 Survival Guide from Gizmoddo – http://gizmodo.com/5955139/windows-8-survival-guide-all-the-tips-tricks-and-workarounds

Ideal office setup

Dec 09
2011
Todd Clarke's ideal office setup taken with iPhone 4s

Todd Clarke's ideal office setup taken with iPhone 4s

Todd Clarke's ideal office setup

Todd Clarke's ideal office setup

Todd Clarke's ideal office setup

Todd Clarke's ideal office setup

Todd Clarke's ideal office setup

Todd Clarke's ideal office setup

Todd Clarke's ideal office setup

Todd Clarke's ideal office setup

I have been pursuing my ideal office for decades and this arrangement is the closest I have come to a nirvana of office productivity.

What you see here includes 7000 gigabytes (7 terabytes) of storage, 9 screens, 4 computers all controlled by one keyboard and mouse sitting on an Ikea desk. http://www.ikea.com/
Additional equipment on deck includes 2 iPads, one Kindle fire, one iPhone, a Fujitsu Scansnap S510 scanner (for going paperless), a Brother PT-2430PC labeler and of course the all-important Aeron chair.
Most of the monitors are 22” to 24” Samsung’s with a 22” Samsung USB Driven monitor a Phillips Boom Boom monitor and a Mimo 7” USB driven monitor. The desktop computers are redundant setups with a physical keyboard/mouse switch and Multiplicity software that ties them together with the MacbookAir, and the MacMini.

The computers are task driven and run software during the day based on their portability. Starting left working right they include:

I have found this setup to be very efficient. The two HP desktops run jobs that take a long time – like backups or print runs, or they are used for big projects we have going – stuff that I want to leave up (like maps). The Mac mini is used mostly for coding apps for the iPhone/iPad. The MacbookAir is my main day to day machine – so its running email, contact management, quickbooks, and document management. It is configured in such a way that on a moments notice I can pull its plug and dash out to a meeting.

The glass wall you see to the left of my desk is a 8’ wide x 4’ tall white board that we write on and/or tape things to as we work through projects .

How is your office configured?

One of my favorite blogs – Lifehacker.com has a great gallery of office setups – including this mobile one or thi sone in a barn – and this map shows where everyone is located that has made a contribution to Lifehackers Workspace show and tell.

Just a few days after I posted this article, I came across this showcase of minimalist office setups.

You want to do what to my main computer?

May 14
2011

Windows 7 would like an update…why doesn’t it speak the truth “my updates are more important than the work you are trying to get done AND there is a 15% chance, that I won’t reboot after I install these files”

Office 2010 – great tool, but it adds another level of clicking

Dec 09
2010

In the never ending attempt to protect you from yourself – Microsoft has added another level of annoyance – not to compete with the infamous “clippy“, but certainly close. If any of my files have been received via email (even from myself) or shot across the internet (from myself), Microsoft Office will let me “view” the file, but not edit it – a major annoyance, if you touch type and you get a paragraph in and the warning box is still waiting for you to verify that this is indeed your file.

Fortunatlty there is a way to shut this feature off – click here to see it step by step.

Thanks Lifehacker and Digital Inspiration!

Microsoft’s online Office is in beta and has some intersting tools

Sep 09
2010

Thanks to Lifehacker.com for the headsup on Microsofts online office .DOCS and the article on how to do a demographics analysis of your friends from Facebook.

From reading the article, to signing in, to document creation too a matter of minutes, all to realize a majority of my Facebook friends come from Albuquerque NM!

The passing of an era

Apr 02
2010

Many people are not aware of the fact that Albuquerque gave birth to both the Personal Computer, and Microsoft.

Today, we get word that Dr. Edwards, who developed the hardware for the first personal computer has passed away.
dredwards

With the passing of Dr. Henry Edward Roberts, I am reminded of one of Albuquerque’s first failings – the loss of Microsoft, which was incorporated in our fair city, to Bill Gate’s home town of Redmond (Seattle area), WA.

This was Albuquerque’s first wake up call that they needed to focus on one of the four factors of production, that it wasn’t enough to just have more PhD’s per capita than the rest of the country, they needed to have access to capital, because without it, companies had to move to other locales that could provide money for their expansion.

The Los Angeles Times has a great obituary for Dr. Edwards that includes his time as a Sandia Labs scientist and the founding of his company, MITS.

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