A Connected Ecosystem

Last December my two year old Asus ultrabook decided that it no longer wanted to keep a charge, or stay on even when plugged in.  It would work as normal until it decided it was nap time.  So it was time to find a new machine.  

The top Windows hardware at the time was the Surface Pro 3.  I strongly considered it, but I do too much typing on my lap for that to be my only device.  I looked at the Dell XPS 13 (this was previous generation at the time) as well as a few others in a Microsoft store.  I never was able to find a machine that felt like the right one.  In most cases the lack of a decent trackpad was the feature that was driving me crazy.  So I walked down to the other side of the mall and looked at their offerings.  I ended up with a 13 inch retina MacBookPro.  I spend most of my time working with Windows and Windows Server, and I knew I could load Windows on this hardware and be okay.  The combination of trackpad and screen could not be matched at that time.  When I bought the laptop I was using a Lumia 1520 (also had a Samsung S5), and was using Microsoft services for e-mail/office/etc.

Well a few months later my 1520 was due for an “upgrade” as we have been accustomed to in the United States.  There was no new high end Lumia, so I decided to take the plunge into the world of the iPhone.  This was my first since my iPhone 4.  This is when things started to make sense to me.  I always mocked tech writers sitting at a Microsoft press conference with a Macbook Air and an iPhone.  Why would they do such a thing?  I mean iOS design is long in the tooth, and Android allows you to do things that iOS locks down.  I am not even going to bring up Windows Phone here until the rumored new high end devices come out.  

I am now typing this post on my Mac which at this moment is also my phone.  Since I am using an iPhone I can answer all my phone calls on my computer.  Not to mention respond to all texts (iMessage and SMS) without my phone being in the same room as me.  If not my Mac I can do all of this on my iPad.  I have even started to use AirDrop and Handoff which also have helped in a pinch.  On the services front Microsoft has really upped their game for Apple users.  The iPad was the first device to have the touch first Office suite, and now an updated version of Office for the Mac is out.  

Many of these features are what I always hoped Windows Phone would have.  I was all in on the platform.  With Microsoft owning Skype and having the number one desktop OS in the world with Windows I just assumed that at some point over the last few years I would have felt an advantage for using the two together.  I kept waiting, and waiting and it never came.  Now Microsoft has Windows 10, and it is a nice OS.  I liked Windows 8, so this was not an issue for me.  The issue was leveraging the power of your ecosystem.  Apple has done this with a combination of hardware and software and Google has done it mostly with software.  Microsoft is somewhere in the middle.  They seem to be happy allowing you to run their services on any platform with the same user experience.  No better example of this than Microsoft removing placeholders in OneDrive for Windows to make the UX similar all other platforms.  

P.S. If you use Android you can SMS from both your Mac or Windows machine by using one of many apps such as MightyText, MySMS, or Pushbullet. While you can’t do voice, it does do a good job for texting.

Windows 10 Privacy Matters

There has been a lot of stuff out there about Windows 10 and the new privacy settings that come with the new operating system.  While much of this is overblown it does not matter.

The Windows division of Microsoft makes a majority of their money by selling the product to the enterprise.  These are the same customers that will be the most sensitive to privacy concerns.  That is why with each day, and each new article written about Windows 10 privacy it is going to make it less and less likely that enterprise customers jump on the upgrade bandwagon in the near future.  Sadly whether the stories that are being written are based on fact or fiction, it does not matter.  Microsoft now has a PR problem, and they need to respond quickly and loudly.  

Many consumers are ready to trade some privacy for features.  The business community is going to be a lot slower to adopt that model.  Microsoft has to fight back against these memes that are now becoming the norm on the internet.  That is if all of these articles are actually wrong?

If You’re Using Google Docs, Stop!

No, I am not going to tell you to leave Google Docs for Microsoft Office.  I don’t believe those two products compete.  Office is still the best tool when it comes to the big important projects for life and business.  There is no part of the Docs suite that can compete with Word, Excel, or Powerpoint.  Google Docs can work for simple tasks where you need to collaborate with others.  

A few years ago another tool was released to the world called Quip.  It came out as a mobile first product with a web presence.  Like Docs, it is great for your everyday word processing work with really good sharing and collaboration tools built in.  Since then Quip has been adding tons of features.  It now has a simple spreadsheet, and also includes a Slack like chat feature.  Two weeks ago Quip became my go to when they released desktop apps for both Windows and the Mac.  Adding this to the already great mobile apps has made Quip a great alternative for many people.   It offers a tool to export to both Word and PDF, and if you are a writer that enjoys Markdown, Quip works for you as well.

For me Quip is not going to replace my Microsoft Office Suite, but it is quickly replacing Evernote and has been my go to for writing posts like this one.  

Give Quip a try today!