January 2011 Archives

Compatibility Begins At Home

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Been doing some more work with an old client of mine in ye olde Citee of Londinium - App-DNA.

These guys attempt to make the impossible possible - i.e. analysing applications for compatibility between different OSs, physical-virtual and now browser versions (IE6 - IE8 in the case of the testing I've been doing) and providing remediation. So, maybe smart but not that big a deal with a handful of apps - but what if you have 1,000+ to test manually?

Yeah, time to get another job. Or you could take a look at these guys' AppTitude product - report just gone live on our website on www.broadband-testing.co.uk. Basically, whereas you could get away with coding whatever you wanted in IE6, the guidelines for IE8 are much tighter. And since IE8 is inextricably tied in to Windows 7, and since Windows 7 is proving a runaway success, primarily due to the, er, inadequacies (to be polite) of Vista and XP being older than the average Pope, this has caused a real problem when moving huge user bases from XP/IE6 directly to Windows 7 or, in the case of Southern US of A, huge users (we won't get into the possibilities surrounding the definition of a "user base" here).

Don't just take my word for it. Gartner's Michael Silver suggest that, through to 2014, IE8 compatibility problems will cause at least 20 percent of organisations to run overtime or over budget on their Windows 7 migration projects and admits that Gartner has seen failure rates in the range of 40 percent. And he must be right, 'cos he's with Gartner...

As part of the test we imported a number of browser/web-based apps and websites, including our own website, which kind of made life interesting in the same way that analysing X-rays of your teeth at the dentists does. It brought up some lovely RED warnings (the software uses a Red, Amber, Green - RAG, geddit? - model to highlight issues and what level of severity they are) on the report of our website with its IE8 compatibility manager (and on some of the software we tested as well) which we investigated of course, being true pro's...

You don't realise just how many things can impact upon even a relatively simple website, let alone an application, until you see something like this - external links, hosting companies' unwelcome additions, Flash (ah-ah - he saves everyone of us... not in 64-bit mode he doesn't; did I ever tell you about the chance I had to meet Brian May, Queen guitarist?) and so on and so forth.

Anyway - all very interesting reading, so do check it out on our website. Meantime, I'm over in the US, West Coast, where there's not much sign of snow (70 Fahrenheit) and the local wine is still over-priced rubbish and all the food is TOO sweet, even the sour dough bread... Back in Andorra next week, where there's equally little sign of fresh snow so, if you're coming over to ski, bring some ice with you.


How IT Can Reduce Your Local Taxes - In Theory At Least

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Was chatting with a client yesterday about IT spending and I was making the point that it is happening but IT departments are keen to make every penny spent (metaphorically and otherwise) as efficient as possible.

So, whereas a big, shiny router might have been top of the wish list 10 years ago, now it's more likely to be some form of optimisation hardware or - even more likely - cost-saving software.

Nice then, to see this point of view validated with a story yesterday in Comp Weekly:


... whereby councils are citing technology as a key factor in increasing efficiency and saving costs. This certainly ties in with a recent visit I made to Hull City Council as part of the testing I've been carrying out for Certero (www.certero.co.uk) on its PowerStudio and AssetStudio products (both reports available on the www.broadband-testing.co.uk website). The aforementioned council are keen users of the Certero software and reckon it reduces weeks of manual effort down to hours and, in so doing, makes some, otherwise "impossible" tasks, relatively simple. Read about them in our report on AssetStudio.

Bucks County Council is another keen Certero fan, focusing this time on the company's PowerStudio software which ensures that PC/laptop clients are always powered down whenever possible. The focus initially here for Bucks is on controlling student usage (Bucks powers down powerbooks to save megabucks?) - a good place to start if my kids are any guide. I know - I pay the electricity bills on their digs in Brighton...

Thanks to the ability to name and shame lazy users it also acts as a splendid incentive to get the users to improve their own power-down behaviour.

Never has such a turn-off been such a turn-on...

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