Thursday, December 23, 2010

End of Year (2010) IT Wrap-up

Excuses and Stuff
Once again, I've reached the end of yet another year of minimal T-related blogging. It's frustrating because there's so many things I want to talk about and so little time to do it in.

It's not that there's nothing going on - we're busier than ever and we're doing some fascinating things with domino and with other systems.

I've been dying to talk about our three-plus year painful but ambitious domino project but it's just not ready yet. I can't talk about it until it's all humming along smoothly.


The List
So where have we been going with our computing stuff this year?

  • Well, there's the ambitious domino project that I mentioned which is aimed at putting together a CRM which doesn't simply use our NAB for lookups, it actually controls the NAB - and according to a bizarre and complex set of business rules. It's happening but our rules are very complex and we're learning a lot about the difference between implementation and test cycles on large compared to small domino installations.

  • We've been back-ending some of our domino applications with Cognos. Nothing fancy yet but there's some interesting web work here and a lot of possibilities.

  • We've been keeping up with IBM - Our clients are all on Notes 8.5.1 and 8.5.2 and the servers are 8.5, 8.5.1 and 8.5.2 (nothing like a little variety).

  • We're still sitting tight on Microsoft Office 2003. I can't see a reason to move to 2007 and so far, I've been able to open everything that has been sent to me - usually using my current version of word but sometimes (amusingly) it turns out that Notes is more capable of reading older and newer word documents than word itself.

  • We've managed to resist the call of Windows 7 and are staying put on Windows XP. I know it's unsupported but how good is Microsoft support anyway? We did put a couple of Windows 7 computers out there but we've seen no performance gains and it's getting hard to make a viable business case for the upgrade.

  • I've been following Google endlessly - I'm very impressed with their drive and direction. Their sudden backtrack on the Wave project was interesting and it's great to see that they're already starting to reuse the technology as shared spaces. I'm excited about the upcoming Chrome OS too.

  • On the browser front, it looks like Google's strategy is paying off. No, they don't actually want to move everyone to Chrome, they just want to lift the browser game. Chrome's my main browser but I also use Mozilla Firefox, Safari, Opera and if I really have to, Internet Explorer. In particular, I'm using the beta versions of Firefox and Opera.

    The current version of Firefox is abysmal and has to be losing them a lot of market share but the upcoming version 4 looks and feels great. Safari has had a massive overhaul too. Chrome is constantly being updated and I'm glad that extensions finally appeared this year. Surprisingly though it's Opera which has seen the biggest improvement in the beta version. Wow. That's going to shake up a few things when it gets released.

  • I've been watching the whole ipad and eBook reader thing with great interest and amusement. I haven't got an ipad. I think I'll wait for an android device. In the meantime though, they're revolutionising the user interface. It just needs to make the transition from pleasure to business.

    I did get an ebook reader but I went for a cheapie with a colour LCD screen. It doesn't even support DRM. Surprisingly though, that hasn't bothered me. I've got so many books to read that I can't see myself needing to buy anything online during the life of that device. The business possibilities are impressive too. I'm PDF-ing everything and saving it there. I've got meeting documents, the DRP and even my scouting books. I took the device on a scout camp recently and was able to read while the cubs were asleep - and reference various scout materials, maps and game rules during the day. People need to move on from DRM and remember that "just being able to read your own documents without a computer" is sometimes an achievement.
That's about all the main waffle for the year.

Thanks everyone for reading and for your help throughout 2010.
Have a great Christmas (or alternative end-of-year celebration) and see you next year!