The trick … is not minding that it hurts

I feel this desire to use my laptop, almost daily. For the past 20+ years, a laptop or desktop computer has been used. Now, the trick has changed. The Apple iPad Pro 10.5 w/ Smart Keyboard is the change. I find that I'm able to focus more directly on what is being done vs. jumping around between apps that I had been doing on the laptop. Maybe this is because of how the "multi-tasking" works on the iPad, not sure, that will change with iOS 11, more apps could be shown on the screen, four apps from what I've seen(people playing around with the beta showing off things). The whole touching the screen thing has become a little odd, I guess it's no different than using the trackpad to move the pointer? When using the laptop, I had eight desktops doing different things(I used a MacBook Pro, I'm all Apple). This feel of wanting of things to be doing stuff has changed a little. I feel it's more a hunt and peck style, vs. a total consumption. I was pretty iPhone app heavy anyways. However, I never thought I would change to a device other than my laptop. When the first iPad came out, I had a little HP NetBook, I spent six months figuring out what I actually did on the NetBook, meaning this. 

I documented the steps I did, i.e. Click here, then click here. Etc… to determine if using an iPad was useable. At that time, the NetBook was just used for email and watching Netflix. So that change was easy. The apps that existed then, well, frankly not many did. No VPN, no banking or communication apps, i.e. FaceTime, Slack, Spark, you name it. And, even back then lots of website still had "mobile browsers" issues. Not all, but the ones I used did. So that made the laptop still a daily thing. Now that most apps are "cloud" connected or cross-platform in some fashion switching around between devices is easy. I still find myself wanting to switch to a laptop/desktop/mouse, well, because that feel, that need to do something that has been done for days and years is changing and that habit is hard to break. When I feel that "want" to use the laptop, I stop, I think out what I would actually do on the laptop, the process, how would I interact with it. And, I stop, I think about it, I find that using the iPad can do the trick. And, if you can get over the hurt of the trick, the breaking down of the process, I think more people would enjoy using an iPad. 

So I'll leave you with this little thought: 

"but the dreamers of the day are dangerous men, for they may act on their dreams with open eyes, to make them possible."

…seven bells and all is well

In the last 90 days, the conference trips have been going. It started off with Interop ITX, Cisco DevNetCreate, Purestorage Pure//Accelerate, Kansas City VMUG Regional Conference, and lastly Cisco Live in Vegas.

Lots of travel and long nights.  I’ll be posting a little more details of each conference in the next few days. Just wanted to drop a little note as to why this blog seems a little lacking the past few weeks. Stay tuned!!!

…of travellers and merchants

Finally, after four years, I used Ekahau Site Survey & Planner. This journey started at the first Wireless LAN Professionals Conference. I first met Jussi Kiviniemi walking out of registration at WLPC, he was in the lobby area. I noticed his badge/name tag had that funny word. At the time I had barely heard of it, nor how to even pronounce it. He mentioned the name, I said “oh yeah, that’s it”, he smiled and I walked away.  The last evening of the conference was a training session for the software, I wasn’t planning on staying for that, had to catch a plane. But I was around long enough to have the phrase “Hello, Mr. Anderson.” forever burned into my mind. During the training session, that phrase was mentioned several times.  Not really sure why that was being said, but that’s what I remember.

Over the past few years, I’ve watched people design with the software. And, what issues they have with it and how responsive support is. Everybody seems to love it. I even hung around longer during other training sessions at WLPC to try and pickup more about it. Just a little bit here and there.

So this brings us to today, right now. Well, I downloaded the trial version.  Hmm. OK, it has some limitations.  But, during that time I just clicked around and figured out what each button does, where to find things and how to “draw” with it.

I have a floor plate of my office, nothing fancy just a PNG image. If you have the CAD file for your floor or building. You can important that, and if the walls are put in and other stuff that goes into a CAD file, the software will know that and design correctly, vs. you having to place walls. So this is what I started with after placing some Access Points.

IMG_3036

Hmm, wow … green is good … coverage is great. HA … well, yeah. But, lets do some more with it.

After adding some attenuation areas, elevator areas, brick walls, drywalls, glass walls. More walls, and lots of walls. I ended up with this…

IMG_3040

Of course this is not even close to being done. I still need to adjust heights of some walls–we have walls that are six and nine feet tall used for dividers. Most of our office is open with 11+ foot ceilings. However, based on what WiFi Explorer shows me. I would say so far this design is pretty accurate—take that with a grain of salt, because much more goes into wireless design than an hour or so of playing around.

Now, there is a reason for Ekahau Certified Survey Engineer (ECSE), this software is pretty intense. Lots of little knobs and things to “tweak”.  To get it right, or close to perfect as possible.

So, yeah, I’m kind of happy about this. I can see why people love this software and why they spend hours with it. Now the only downside is—I should have used this software sooner.

Where we’re going we don’t need backups.

So yeah…. that was my thought for six years. And, for six years it was good. But wait, nothing bad happened, data was still safe and “snapshots” were done.  Yeah — you heard me “snapshots”.  But then after a BLT sandwich with Vince Vaughan, we bought Veeam.

Now, Vaughan didn’t convince me to buy Veeam, he just explained what it can do.  For a few years prior I had been listening and watching to what other people had done, had come from and what was being used.  It still came back to “Hey, use Veeam”.

Our setup is simple, one VMware host with around 20 guests. Nothing big, nothing fancy, other than being a relic of another time—i.e. just damn old, I mean super old.  The system was turned on December 2009.  We needed a good way to get the data, the guests off the host. Now, we could do other things, yeah, but I’m lazy. I wanted something fun and simple.  Plus, I like the color green and Veeam fit the need!

Wait, did you just say you bought something based on a color??? Sure why not, lots of options for backups exist. But, I figure if a company has good marketing throughout the product and brand.  I’m thinking they must be looking at the little details. And, to me those little details count. And guess what, I think I was right.  So far we have not had any issues with using Veeam, updating Veeam, doing backups, doing recoveries(just for fun).

So what’s your point?  The point is, find something simple and easy to use, because one day, today or five years from now—things will break.  And, they could break–not during your maintenance window, not during the low usage times, but when you least think about it.  And, you want something simple, easy to use and stable.

That’s why I picked my road colored with Veeam green.

Norman Access Points?

Have our Access Points become ugly?  An upturn of design in our Access Points being used have shown they are becoming and starting to look nice.  Do you remember looking at the Cisco 1250, that thing was heavy and just ugly. However, it was a tank and worked very well.

Has the ugly AP lead to a design issue? Or has the ugly AP realized in order to work well, it must take some lessons in design.  If you can not see it, then it probably does not work well. Wireless is good if you can see the AP–Line of Sight.

At Mobility Field Day 1, Ventev was presenting different types of antenna design to make the hidden Access Point work! During this time I have been reading the book: The Design of Everyday Things by Don Norman.  Have you ever heard the phrase Norman Door? I’m sure you have, but just didn’t realize it, the best example is: When you go to a door do I push or pull it?  aka Norman Door.

I remember unboxing the Meraki MR34 and thinking damn this looks nice. Even down to the little foam screw-tray holder.  In our office the access points are out in the open, everything was made to match our office colors–the network plates, RJ45 jacks and cables all match a color design.  Sure, it cost a little more, but it does look good.

I think more and more people are starting to notice the AP, is that becoming a sign of the network performance? I also think people are starting to be “okay” with seeing these parts of the network, that is if performance is great–and by having the AP in sight this helps.

…But only if the design of the Access Point is good, if not, an antenna can help.

Our air has turned mobile?

With Wireless Field Day, err .. Mobility Field Day a few days away. Has our view on wireless changed? Are the players in the wireless space willing and accepting of this change, or has this changed taken place without them?

I have the feeling that the big boys in the space are concerned about this change. They have placed lots of money into the wireless name and people know what it is, maybe not by the word “wireless” but you say “wi-fi” people instantly know what you’re talking about. Do they know how it works, maybe, maybe not, are do they even care?  They just know something on the mobile device changes either while at home or maybe work.

I have great hopes that Mobility Field Day will be the dented armour that we all used and was placed in the closet.  Now it’ll be brought back into the light, shined up and on for another round. I think this will be a catalyst for new things in both the wireless and the new mobility landscape.

The question still is, are people willing to tear down a bridge and start new? People always say: never burn bridges. However, if you can’t burn the bridge down to light your new path, what’s the point?

Or maybe you’re just making a bigger and better bridge…