iPhone 4 shipment delays?


** Update

Received yesterday (6/23) ahead of schedule!  Loving every second of it!

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** Update

Well, I got an email from Apple today (6/20/2010) saying that my order has shipped.  I assume the phone will get here on Thursday as originally expected.  For those wondering, I ordered on the pre-order day (6/14/10) around 8PM.  Still no word on where the iOS 4 will be available for 3G(s).

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Want to hear comments about your iPhone 4 pre-order experience.  Seemed to me like between the stability of Apple and AT&T’s servers, one or the other (or both!) was always down.  I started my pre-order attempts at 8am and continued periodically throughout the day until 8pm at which point it finally worked.  I didn’t get a confirmation email until the next day, but shipping is currently confirmed for 6/24 (the original date advertised).

Hearing lots of rumors about the shipments being delayed as late as July 12th, but haven’t seen anything concrete on who is affected by this.  Post your comments and talk about your iPhone 4 experience so far :) I’m also waiting to see when I can get the current iOS4 update to put on my 3GS to satisfy my hunger 4 the new iPhone!  Come on, I’ve written too many articles (3) to not receive any comments to date!!!

Choosing a DBMS


I thought I’d post some information about database management systems for those who are a little less familiar with them than your typical DBA or developer. Maybe you’re a new IT professional, maybe you’ve been tasked with making a decision in your company on which DBMS to use for a new project, or maybe you’re just trying to see what’s out there in the DBMS world.

I want to focus on some of the relevant enterprise DBMS….Oracle, IBM DB2, and Microsoft SQL Server. We’ll leave MySQL and some of the others for future discussions. I work with these three systems on a regular basis, and to no surprise…they all have their ups and downs. I’ll share some pros/cons on each one.  There are lots and lots of lower level features and topics we could discuss about each DBMS, but this is just meant to be a quick overview from the average users perspective.

All in all…Oracle is great for the very advanced user/DBA, but very friendly for those not very familiar with database management systems.

Oracle Pros:

  • Some great bundled tools for quick deployment
  • Very fast/reliable/stable
  • Lots of flexibility for the advanced user (troubleshooting/tracing/configuration)

Oracle Cons:

  • Extremely resource intensive.  An Oracle DB will consume most of a systems resources if not deployed on a real server.
  • Difficult to troubleshoot
  • No more thick client for Enterprise Manager after the 9i release.  DBA has to rely on the web version of EM for performing maintenance.  (The real Oracle DBA will seldom/never use EM though, however it is good to have for the Oracle newbie)
  • Backup/restore is not simplified
  • Requires a client install in order for a workstation to be able to connect to a database
  • Documentation is not organized very well, difficult to find relevant information when having problems

SQL Server is great for those that love Microsoft products (which a lot of people do).  For those that do not like relying on Microsoft updates, and regular GUI changes, SQL Server probably is not for you.  This is probably the quickest DBMS to get up and running, but seems to have problems with SPID (system process identifier) blocking issues which cause the database to lock up until locks are manually released.

SQL Server Pros:

  • Very simple backup/restore
  • Configuration is simple
  • No client required.  Connectivity is built in to the OS
  • Ability to authenticate using Windows credentials, or pre-defined SQL Server credentials
  • Easy to troubleshoot basic issues (SQL Profiler)
  • Great for .NET developers sandbox environment

SQL Server Cons:

  • No *NIX support (Windows only)
  • Not as customizable as Oracle/DB2.  Some would argue that SQL Server is barely an enterprise DBMS
  • New versions (2005, 2008) are like changing from Office 2003 to Office 2007.
  • SPID Blocking
  • Not a very knowledgeable user community
  • Microsoft Support…say no more

I’ve saved the best for last.  I recognize benefits in all of the DBMS listed on this page, but DB2 is simply my favorite.

DB2 Pros:

  • Quick deployment
  • Not terribly resource intensive
  • Easy command line interface for quick maintenance
  • Native client app (Control Center (db2cc)) provides a simple front end for maintenance
  • Some great tools for configuration
  • Supports a wide range of OS’s (Windows, Linux, UNIX, AIX, and more).
  • Improved backup and restore capabilities in 9.5+ releases
  • Very easy to troubleshoot
  • Documentation is very simple to locate when having problems that require research
  • World class support

DB2 Cons:

  • It doesn’t come with any games….(I had to put something here).

Hopefully this was helpful to some of you who are doing some initial research on these systems.  If you have any problems and you end up here…feel free to reach out to me.  I’ve seen most problems with all of these systems somewhere along the way, and usually have a pretty good memory when it comes to these things.

Here are some links to get you started with the Express (free) versions offered by each vendor:

IBM DB2

Oracle

SQL Server

What is the iPad, really…?


Let’s talk about the iPad.  From all the reviews and banter about the iPad, I already know that it sucks, and that it’s awesome.  This post is not to choose one or the other, but to let you decide for yourself where the device fits in to your world (if at all).

When Steve Jobs introduced the iPad in his keynote presentation, he focused on the iPad being a 3rd category device separate from a smartphone or a laptop.  There is no debate that smartphones and laptops have become the main source of how we access information today.  Is the iPad going to completely change the way we access information?  Is it going to make it faster, easier, more efficient, or allow us to become more productive in how we access information?  Probably not, but that is my opinion.

Those who have already reviewed the iPad have mainly focused on features (or lack thereof).  From experience in my field, I know that features come later, so I am not terribly concerned about the features (ie – the lack of flash support, or the initial lack of 3G support).  What I want to know is….is a 3rd class device in order, and if so, is this it?  Can we combine an iPod Touch and an iMac and call it an emerging technology?  Sure we can…but does it provide us with any value, or is the iPad just another gadget?

Steve Jobs is brilliant, there is no question about it.  He has a clear vision of where he wants his company to be, and has done a great job getting them where they need to be.  Apple innovates, and is an unprecedented leader in the industry.  Like any new Apple product, the iPad has gotten more press than any new product probably deserves.  I think the iPad might be the true test that determines whether a product is good because it’s an Apple product, or if it’s good because…well, it’s just good!

I just want people to think, and determine for themselves whether or not the iPad is really going to be that 3rd category device that society needs, and what exactly this means.  To me, when I heard “3rd category device”, I was excited.  I was thinking…”wow, I can’t wait to see what this is.  Probably something I couldn’t even fathom, like a 4th dimension”.  Maybe I misinterpreted and had high hopes, or maybe Jobs just has a simpler definition of what exactly a “3rd category device” is.  Maybe it’s just a new marketing buzz word created by Apple, but I am willing to give them the benefit of the doubt for the time being.

Let me take you to the KeyNote presentation, where Jobs explains the 3rd category device.  He points out that we use smartphones and laptops to browse the web, email, share photos, for video, music, games, and for reading eBooks.  He does recognize that in order for the iPad to be a 3rd category device, it must do these things better.  He then sets the stage for product placement by a dig on the netbook.  He says that when you hear these things, you probably think of a netbook.  “The problem is…netbooks aren’t better at anything!”.  Well, is that true?  Maybe it is (?).  Sure, netbooks are generally PC’s, and Apple does not make them.  But let’s be honest.  From the consumers perspective, they’re great.  They’re cheap, and realistically, they do all these things.  In some cases, it’s easier to do these things on a netbook than it is from a traditional desktop.

When paying $500+ for a gadget, the consumer probably shouldn’t be told exactly what they should be using it for.  I would argue that the netbook actually gives the advanced IT user more functionality than the iPad, in a sense that you have more flexibility to customize the device to focus on exactly what it is you want it to do with it.  If a netbook comes with Windows 7 Basic and all you are looking for is a cheap interface/control for your home media server…throw a Linux distro on the netbook and call it a day.  In a realistic world, one does not buy a device for both gaming, and for reading eBooks.  Sure, it’s nice to have the functionality if you want it, but let’s not have a device that is just “ok” in all of these categories.  A jack of all trades, but a master of none.  To me, that doesn’t spark much interest.

Back to the keynote presentation….What does Jobs mean when he says the iPad is “better” at all these things it is designed for?  Does he mean that the iPad can do more things…or does he mean that it will be easier to do these things with a new touch interface?  Browsing the web, email, photo sharing, video, music, gaming, eBooks….Do we really struggle with any of these things to a point where we need a new category of devices to replace the existing functionality of our existing devices?  I just don’t think so.  Not yet anyway.  There are so many applications for the PC and Mac that give us the flexibility we need to perform the tasks we want, how we want.

I have an iPhone, and I love it (moslty).  My only gripe is that I spend so much time trying to get it to perform basic functions that my PC or Mac can do with the built in OS.  Things like remote desktop, network troubleshooting, checking sports scores, email, writing music, or shopping.  To be honest, it’s not great at any of those things.  I have to rely on the development community to provide me with most of the functionality I want, and it’s a shame.  Shouldn’t the vendor be providing at least 50% of the functionality you are looking for in a new device, and not delegating that responsibility to the user community?  How many of you guys have spent the $.99 – $9.99 on an iPhone app, and deleted it immediately after finding that it’s not what you were hoping?  Is that what you want to get used to with the iPad?

For some people out there, it’s a great investment.  It’s not terribly expensive, and it provides some exciting functionality that you’ve been begging for since you recognized the limitations of your iPhone.  I just can’t see myself submitting to a device like this to the point where when it breaks, I just buy another one, knowing that it will cost more to repair than it will do just buy a new one.

Did I mention that I don’t have an iPad?  I wanted one before I wrote this post, and now I want one even more.  I need to know the answer to all these questions, and to me, it’s worth the $500 bucks to find out first hand.  The only other thing I struggle with is where I will use it.  My favorite iPhone App is “RedLaser”.  I love pulling my iPhone out at a store before making a purchase, to see if I can get that item cheaper across the street.  I can’t see pulling my iPad out of my pocket to do the same thing, nor do I see myself pulling out my iPad for buying tickets on Stubhub over doing it with my laptop.

I think the limitations of the iPhone have already been recognized from an application perspective.  There are so many applications out there that do almost enough to satisfy your need, but not quite.  For those of you iPhone users who are not familiar with the ShapeWriter app, it is an application that lets you “draw” out the text in a “connect the dots” fashion, rather than pressing each key on the iPhone’s touch screen keyboard.  The Shapewriter app is an awesome technology for texting, but it does not integrate with the iPhones native messaging interface.  To send a text using this app, you need to launch the app, write your text, and press a button that opens your contacts, and it opens the iPhones native text app, which pre-fills your selected contact with a blank message.  You then have to select the message box, and click “Paste”, at which point the text is finally ready for sending.  To me, this is just enough work to be able to show off your cool app, but never actually use it.  The same applies to other 3rd party text apps, like “Dragon Dictation”, which lets you speak your text, but then have to do some manual entry to send it anyway.  It kind of defeats the main purpose of the app, although the effort is there and will likely only be enhanced.

I would love to hear some examples of where you guys are using your iPads, and what you are using them for.  The iPhone satisfies a mobility requirement that the desktop or even laptop/netbook do not.  For example, the iPhone has apps like Red Laser (mentioned above), and Shazam (an app for quickly identifying that song playing on the sound system at the mall that you want to download when you get home).  The iPad however…?  I’d love hear where it fits in to satisfy a need that an iPhone, desktop, laptop or netbook would not.

Surely, there is a need for the iPad.  I just don’t think we’re 100% there yet.  I want to predict that the iPad will not be the next “technology flop” that kids are researching 2 – 5 years from now for a homework assignment, but I just don’t know.

What I do want to know is…what happened to Microsoft Surface?  10 seconds of research answers the question.  They’re $12,500 – $15,000, and cost thousands of dollars per year to maintain.  For those not familiar with the Microsoft Surface, you’ve probably seen it being used on the news, on CNN, SNL, etc….  It has a big touch screen that lets you manipulate objects as if they were sitting in front of you on a table.  It looked too good to be true when it came out, and ended up being the case given the price is out of reach for the average/reasonable consumer.  It has been a few years since it emerged, but I haven’t seen anything like it since.  The Surface has the ability to identify objects that you place down on it.  For example, you can put your cell phone down on the surface, and it pulls up your contacts.  Put your digital camera down, and up come your pictures.  And that’s not even the half of it.  Check it out if you have some time, and let me know what you think is closer to that “3rd category device” (price aside).

That’s all for now.  I really look forward to hearing what you have to say about my first post.  Feel free to ask questions, or suggest any technology related topics for new posts, and I’ll be glad to provide my input.


Welcome/Intro


Hello!  Now that I know I’ve probably taken the last WordPress username known to man, let’s get started!

I’ve posted lots of content in other places (ie – forums, newsgroups, etc…), but this is my first blog!  I really hope you will take the time to read as I share my interests and open opinions about various technologies or technology related topics.

I am hopeful that my blog is unique to this community, and especially to the larger community (the www).  There are lots of self proclaimed technology experts out there, but if you’ve been out there browsing reviews as much as I have, you probably share some of the same thoughts.  I have recently felt an obligation to write them down!

Am I a technology expert?  Maybe.  Have I ever written any piece of content that would validate my credentials as anything close to it?  No.  Do technology experts exist?  I’m not sure.  There are a lot of opinions out there, but I haven’t found the person that I would want to have the final say in all things technology related.

I am an expert in my field, but am not here to discuss the details of what I do.  That’s not why I’m here.  In fact, I’m here to discuss everything but.  I spend enough time talking shop at work, and do not want my blog to reflect who I am between 12 – 8PM, Monday – Friday (EST).  Yes, nice hours, eh?

I’ve been all over the internet, and started at a relatively young age.  I am 27 years old, and only divulge this because it is probably relevant for readers to really be able to critique/understand my thoughts.

I started using the internet regularly when I was 11 years old, and quickly became interested in a larger community.  I was in to hardware, software, and anything technology related.  I used to troll IRC chat rooms for the opportunity to chime in with some unique position on anything technology related.  I became an operator in a help channel (chat room), and learned a great deal about all kinds of different technologies and practices.

Back then (I know, it wasn’t terribly long ago…but from an evolution perspective of the internet, it really was!!), conversations lasted in chat rooms.  Folks would not give 1/2 answers (a la <insert forum name here>), chime in with negative/racists remarks when they didn’t understand something (a la YouTube), or give answers that were nothing more than outright guesses (a la Yahoo! Answers).  I picked up endless amounts of information about programming, hardware/software troubleshooting, you name it, I was interested in it.  From an “experience” perspective, it was probably the largest contributor to my professional career in technology.

I recognize there are all kinds of “techies” out there, and I even hesitate to use the word since it does not reveal much about a persons interests or expertise.  There are those who are self-taught, those who pursued a technical degree at a community or state college (ie – Computer Engineering/Science, MIS, IT, etc..), those who pursued a “high power” technical degree at a school like M.I.T, and those who participated in some/all of the above.

For the aspiring technologist looking for information about which path to take, let me touch on this briefly.  I know many brilliant and successful people from each one of those walks mentioned above, and I have no opinion on which one is better than the other.  Probably because no one is better than the other.  I’m not going to say which one I came from just yet (not that anyone even cares just yet either), because I have some thoughts to share about them first.

Some will say those who went to expensive universities to pursue a technical degree wasted their time and money, but I’m not sure that is the case.  There are so many opportunities to participate in large projects at places like M.I.T, that you truly get that “real world” experience during your educational career.  Those employers looking for real world experience would mostly not be let down hiring someone fresh out of one of these big tech schools.

From my experience, those who are self-taught typically fall on extreme sides of the spectrum.  They are either brilliant to the point where you cannot teach some of the knowledge they posses, or they’re sitting in a suit and tie on YouTube, reviewing the new features of the latest PS3 firmware update.

As far as that “regular” IT degree, those tend to be the folks that are “good to go”.  The ones who took their coursework seriously are usually ready to begin their career in most technology related fields, and will become experts with little guidance and experience.  Point is, all of these paths get your mind where it needs to be to succeed in a tech related field.  Ok, enough with the inspirational speaking.
I just want to provide some good reading, and good conversation with those that share the same interests in technology in general.  I’ll write some topics geared for the consumer technologist, the IT professional, the aspiring technologist, and then probably a few others.

Given the relevance of the topic, I’ll start with an iPad review.  I’m not terribly interested or disinterested in the iPad, but have a perspective that I have not yet seen voiced.  So, this wraps up the intro.  I’m going to start my review now.  Keep checking back for updates, and feel free to comment however, and whenever you’d like!  Thanks for reading so far!!