What is going on with Metro?

Category : Random

Recently, I have come across a very interesting report provided by Soluto. You can read it here.

The most interesting part of the report to me is:

Among desktop and laptop users, 60% of users launch a Metro app less than once a day. This number significantly improves with tablets, but still 44% of Windows 8 tablet users launch a Metro app less than once a day.

This of course is just a little bit of the data from the report. I suggest you read the entire report, there is a lot of interesting data there.

In some ways I am sort of shocked at how low metro app usage is but at the same time is this really surprising? Microsoft, per usual, seems very confused about how to transition to the future.

As more and more applications move to cloud services, desktops are becoming more and more irrelevant for your average users. The big two OS developers (Microsoft & Apple) understand this. What I find most interesting is how both companies are approaching this trend from completely different angles. The cloud is slowly but surely making operating systems irrelevant and at the same time software licenses and hardware refreshes. How many have you noticed the trend that the hardware refresh cycle is getting longer and longer. This is all revenue I am sure Microsoft has counted on in the past. In my business, we went from mostly a 3 year refresh cycle with our clients all the way up to 5 years. People simply aren’t running much software on their desktops anymore.

So then how are the two companies are approaching the problem?

What Microsoft is trying to do with Metro is start a revolution. Forcing an interface most people aren’t sure they want and making it damn hard to switch back to what they know. This is a stark contrast to how Apple is approaching the problem. Apple’s approach has become apparent to me in the last two releases of OS X. Applications have been added to OS X that started out on iOS and a lot of the UI elements have started to be brought across. Think of apps like Launchpad and iMessage. Microsoft could learn a lot from Apple in this regard. Apple’s is slowly transitioning to a metro style, unified interface and in the next 2 – 5 years I wouldn’t be surprised if iOS and OS X are one in the same. Apple realizes doing this in one shot would alienate their users that rely on a desktop environment and for the past 2 or 3 years have been slowly merging these two platforms. This is an evolutionary approach to the problem.

Besides the revolution vs evolution strategies, Metro also faces the same problem that the Android platform is facing. Apple’s developer ecosystem is top notch. Almost every application is written on iOS first and then they port them to the other platforms. For instance, every major mobile competitor makes apps for iOS. Apple doesn’t make a single app for any other mobile platform.

To me, the main issue with Metro is that change is always traumatic for users. Especially when it comes to business clients, big or small. A switch to Windows 8 means a lot of retraining and hand holding for very little benefit. The Windows 8 release gives me deja vu, reminding me of something called Windows Vista.

Most businesses didn’t switch to Vista simply because there was not enough reason to switch from XP. By the time Vista rolled out, XP was stable and well entrenched. There was no additional benefit for the businesses to upgrade.

Windows Blue is just going to be more of the same old Metro mess, just with a little different face.

Beta Testers Wanted!

Category : Managed Services, Random

For the past 6 months, I have been developing a PSA / CRM tool designed specifically for small (1 – 5 employees) IT / MSP firms.  I have been testing it with my business for a while, but I am not looking for 10 beta users to find any additional bugs and help me refine some more features available for launch.

My goals for this project are as follows:
  • Make an easy to use PSA / CRM package that people will actually use.
  • I wanted to be able to open and close tickets within seconds, not minutes.
  • I do not want to miss out on billable hours, so again, simplicity and speed is key.
  • Create a strong base so I can rapidly build out a feature rich platform.
  • Target the software towards small IT professionals
  • Make everything mobile friendly.
  • Integrate with freshbooks.
  • Have it be affordable
  • Remind me about everything – I easily forget everything
  • Have it be cloud based and have it work in browsers other than IE.
I am aiming to launch very shortly, but I am looking for some beta testers to help find any bugs remaining in the software as well as to help me decide where to focus on next with the software.
You can signup for the beta here: http://unbouncepages.com/mspnotebook-beta-signup/
Or you can sign up to the mailing list to be notified of launch details here: http://unbouncepages.com/mspnotebook/

Free Kindle Book – The IT Marketing Crash Course: How to Get Clients for Your Technology Business

Category : Product Recommendations

coverEarlier last week, I was contacted by an author named Raj Khera about a new book he has written on IT marketing. He sent me a pre-release version of his book “The IT Marketing Course: How to Get Clients for Your Technology Business“. The book includes strategies, checklists, examples and action plans that lead to generating new clients for your IT or MSP firm. I particularly enjoyed the examples from business owners who describe how they are creating tons of qualified leads through clever, inexpensive marketing tactics.

 

I found my self nodding in agreement with a lot of the points Raj makes in the book and would highly recommend it to anyone who is looking for more clients for their IT related businesses. You can download the kindle version for free on March 18th and 19th and the book will be priced for only $0.99 until May 15, 2013.  I am going to be doing a full review of the book later on this month, but be sure to get a free copy before then.

Podcasts and tales of roadtrips past

Category : Road Trips

A really big dog we saw in Las VegasI am a big fan of podcasts.  The only trouble is that I work from home so I don’t have a lot of opportunity to listen to them (no commute).  That is just one reason why I love road trips!  For some reason or the other, one of my favourite things to do drive.   Specifically, drive really far in short periods of time. Already this year, I have driven over 17,000 KM during 3 road trips.

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Startups and Winnipeg – a much colder silicon prairie

Category : Startups, Winnipeg

Wow, have I ever been busy over the last 6 months or so.  One of the projects I have been working on is Ramp Up Manitoba, a non-profit local tech startup organization right here in my hometown of Winnipeg, Manitoba.

Simply put, Ramp Up Manitoba is a collision between entrepreneurs, developers, and designers focused on
increasing the number of technology startups in Manitoba.  Our first goal is to connect great ideas with
the talent needed to launch them.  We already have three meetups down and the response has been overwhelming.

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Projectorfy – My newest app

Category : Random

Presentations, Live Polling, and Tweet Walls On The Fly all from the iPadMy friend was hosting an event with his university and he sends me a text at 6:00 PM on a Friday night that they need to run a tweetwall at their event for the students who are attending from all over Canada.

Being the helpful guy I am, I drove down there and gave him a hand. I do some google searches for tweetwalls and although there are a lot of options, I find none of them are very good.

Between popups on the laptop, the flash based tweetwalls failing or lagging and the need for additional features the event did not go off without a hitch. I thought there had to be another way, an easier way.

I couldn’t beleive that no one has thought about running tweetwalls or other conference related functions for an iPad, it seemed like the next logical step.

So when I got home, I started to put together a prototype and thats when things got exciting. I could see the technology worked, and it worked well. No more popups, resolution issues or hassle.

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