Welcome to InterconnectNow - Interconnected Technologies' blog about technology and other items of interest to small businesses and individuals.

The topics here will usually deal with productivity-enhancing technologies of interest to small businesses and individuals, but are often of broader interest.  Productivity is the goal of all of this technology that we use. Enabling productivity through refining or adding technology-based capabilities is what we're obsessed with at Interconnected Technologies, and so this blog is dedicated to discussions of all things related to that.


Entries by Don Ferguson (113)


Of home screens and launchers

Android, the journey continues. Android in its various flavors has “home screens”. It also has the complete list of Apps, like iOS does. Home screens let one put a subset of apps, and “widgets” on the multiple screens in an arrangement that suits the owner, if the owner knows how to do this; if the owner knows *to* do this.

Enter Windows Phone with its radically different system. A vertically scrolling panel of indeterminate length made up of relatively large square or rectangular blocks, on which you can put apps, hubs and things (don’t ask; I don’t have one, yet, and so I don’t really know), alongside a vertically scrolling, easily searchable list of all the apps on the device.

I have an Android phone – the Razr Maxx – but there’s a home screen replacement called Launcher 7 that emulates, somewhat, the behavior of the Windows Phone launcher. Ever curious, I thought I’d try it out.

OH, one thing: I have a fail safe. I use Folder Organizer, a nifty and very powerful app that allows one to put things into open-able folders. Yes, Android offers this now in Ice Cream Sandwich, and some add-on launchers also offer it. I like FO because:

  1. I can export the configuration and import it on another device, preserving the folder names and contents.
  2. It watches as I download new apps, and asks me to put them into folders, helping me avoid straggler apps.

What I learned from Launcher 7:

  1. It’s not nearly as limiting as one would think, even having become accustomed to the breadth of the Android mechanisms. It would seem expansive compared to what iOS currently offers.
  2. It’s kinda cool looking.
  3. It helps focus on the apps, etc., to which one really needs quick access.
  4. Having Folder Organizer helped me keep some level of organization to the “secondary” apps: the ones to which I don’t need quick access.

I think I’m done with the experiment, though. I’ll go back to the Motorola-provided launcher, which will presumably be changing in the next few days as the Razr line gets upgraded to Ice Cream Sandwich. But, for the record, these are the things I put on the (somewhat limited compared to Android) Launcher 7 screen:

  1. Phone, which on the Razr, also gives access to call history, contacts and Favorite contacts
  2. Text messaging
  3. Calendar, using a widget that shows what the actual date is
  4. Email widgets for each of my two email accounts
  5. Camera
  6. Voicemail
  7. ToMarket shopping list
  8. HDR Camera+
  9. Pictures (like a hub – nice, and internal to Launcher 7)
  10. Play Store
  11. Music
  12. Hootsuite
  13. Calculator
  14. Angry Birds (yeah, so what?)
  15. Browser
  16. B-Folders
  17. Quickoffice
  18. iHeartRadio
  19. Shazam
  20. Fox news (don’t start)
  21. SportsTap
  22. Alarm Clock Plus
  23. StopWatch & Timer
  24. Flashlight widget.

For the rest, I go to FO, or the Apps list.

Ice Cream Sandwich will be nice. Windows Phone 8 will be interesting!


Should I use Google Docs instead of Microsoft Office?




In a word, NO.

Try this:

  1. Create a document in Google Docs.
  2. Insert and populate a couple of rows of a table.
  3. Try to move the contents of one row to another location in the table.

Ponder what that means.

This is just one example of why Google Docs isn’t a replacement for Office. It’s just not ready. Looking at the file organization methods in place for Google Docs is a less visceral, but much more important, way to see this.

If the question were “Should I use Google Docs” the answer is probably YES! For very simple documents and spreadsheets it is currently at or near the top of solutions for collaborating on documents. The model is without peer for shared document editing, in particular.

Microsoft’s implementation of Office web apps and Skydrive makes Office more functional in a group environment, but it still can’t do the real-time collaboration Google Docs provides. However, don’t mistake this one strength with overall capability. Google Docs, for nearly everyone, cannot take the place of Microsoft Office paired with local or cloud-based storage of documents.


Friends (and I/T consultants) don’t let friends run cleanup/optimization tools!

Why? Because they’re unduly risky and end up costing you money!

Finallyfast.com, PCMatic.com; Registry Mechanic and others; half a dozen “keep your PC’s drivers current” tools. They’re everywhere, and you might think you’re saving money and time by using them, but you’d be wrong. These tools make money for I/T service providers. Now, Interconnected Technologies is in business to make money - but not this way. We want to make money by helping clients implement technologies that improve their productivity, enable new capabilities, and simplify things; not by spending hours repairing the damage done by these types of tools. Sure, we fix things when they break, but self-inflicted wounds are the easiest to avoid – just don’t even think of using one of these things!

It is very simple to get a PC to the point where it’s running optimally. It’s not simple to know how to do that – it takes decades of experience to know how to spend 30 minutes getting a computer running its best. That’s where we start, when working with clients. Once that’s done, we can move on to all the rest of the work we do together – to make sure that these optimally-running computers are then providing the capabilities that can improve people’s business and personal lives.

That’s why we buy these things, remember?

And yes, that’s why Interconnected Technologies is here!


Egnyte Local Cloud–nobody’s perfect!


Egnyte’s online file server service is a great fit for many Interconnected Technologies clients. The service has turned out, after 8 months of testing and installation at a dozen or so clients, to be every bit as good as its billing.

That said, no technology is perfect, and on a couple of occasions on one or two computers the Egnyte Local Cloud mechanism has just stopped working. Restarting the computer with the issue can fix the problem, but if restarting isn’t an option, stopping and starting the Local Cloud tool is the next best thing. Here’s a video that shows how to do it. After the Stop and the Start shown in the video there is a User Account Control popup to which the answer is Yes.





OK, even I’m reaching the overload point. Amazon.com launched its Cloud Drive app for Windows and MacOS, and so we have yet another cloud-based file storage solution, offering free space, easy access, and everything else short of world peace and faster than light space travel!

It’s almost too much! Dropbox, Sugarsync, Google Drive, Microsoft Skydrive, Jungle Disk, Egnyte – where will it all end?

Why, with an article, of course! Soon! Meanwhile, Amazon.com’s Cloud Drive is installed on one of my machines, and I’ll put it through its paces and see how it stacks up!

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