A Global Business Traveler’s iPhone

iPhone Travel folderBelow is a list of apps I use while traveling the world and keeping up with business and personal calendars. A few things on my iPhone and iPad make it simpler, more enjoyable, or both. The best apps give me abilities I couldn’t before – Made for Mobile(tm) is the IBM term.  I change flights while walking between appointments (Airline app) and re-book a car (National Car app). I land and get to a destination with only an address (GPS, usually Motion-X). Check prices, look up documents, and find better store nearby. Respond instantly with links to IBM Connections (IBM’s social business environment) stored in Evernote on every device (PC, iPhone, iPad). My life demands speed and range and the right apps and knowing how to use them makes it both possible, easier, and more enjoyable.

Three items of caution: First, I use an iPhone and iPad which works for me as I find the interface more consistent and elegant than others, but I am confident that other mobile OS’s have wonderful features and capabilities such as Android’s heavy integration with Google and especially Google maps.  Second, this is not an exclusive or comprehensive list nor do think these are the best, but a list of what works for me.  Third and final, I don’t work for any of these companies nor did they compensate me in any way in fact in some cases I paid them to get the app if it wasn’t free.

My SmartPhone Applications

* means I use it heavily or wouldn’t consider a phone w/out it.
 

Business

  • *ApptDialer – dial conference calls, best $4 I ever spent
  • *Linkedin – business connections
  • *Evernote – multi-platform notes & more, once you get it, you’ll wonder how you lived w/out it
  • *google – Apple doesn’t like them, so you’ll have to install it
  • *CamScanner – Use your mobile phone as a scanner
  • bump – lets you xfer business cards between phones by bumping them
  • webex, blackboard, IBM Meetings (and 3 others) – conferences on the go, great on iPad

Weather: What is it like outside and will it be next week

  • *Weather Underground – great weather & weather science (membership $5/yr), loved it since day 1 on the Internet, membership gives you add free everything
  • *Wunder Map – best weather maps using google maps overlay, also via Weather Underground
  • Every other weather app and there are lots of them
  • Navigation: Seriously, I usually have an address, no directions, & no time when I land
  • *MotionX Drive – excellent free driving gps (live voice $15/yr), recently really let me down, so may go looking again
  • google maps – not native, but useful
  • google earth – cool way to look for a vacation spot or house
  • iExit – whats on the next exit on the interstate, free

News & Information: Even when traveling, I want to know what is happening in the world

  • *nytimes – my daily news of choice due to level of coverage of national and international
  • *kindle – yes, you can read all your Amazon kindle books on your iOS devices, but you can’t shop for them in the app, so you just have to use a browser
  • nyt now – a more modern look at NY Times
  • NPR News – NPR via internet and I do use the station finder when the hotel radio will work (not often)
  • TED – Short, important topics via well done lectures, makes you think
  • Flipboard – never got into this, but it has high potential for news, there are others, too.

Entertainment: All work and no play makes me cranky

  • *pandora – listen almost daily, pairs well w/ good bluetooth speaker, repeats too much, but I want to set & forget when I listen
  • *tunein radio – listen daily to NPR, pairs well w/ good bluetooth speaker, has a sleep timer, hate hotel radios
  • at bat – if you like baseball
  • netflix – the cord cutter staple
  • amazon instant video – free w/ prime, some good stuff
  • youtube – video by someone to show some of everything not totally obscene, actually a really good teaching / learning tool
  • soundhound – ID a song
  • night sky – (if you like looking up at night)
  • remote for electronics – most smart devices have smartphone apps

Photography: Now everyone has a camera to use everywhere all the time

  • Mostly use the native iOS camera app, but sometimes…
  • Fast Camera – rapid series of shots
  • 645 PRO Mk II ($4) – makes your iPhone nearly DSLR minus lenses
  • Camera+ ($2) – makes your iPhone super good point & shoot
  • I don’t edit on my phone or iPad, but iPhoto seems useful

 Dining: I’m always up for a great dining adventure

  • *opentable – high end dining, limited, use for business rsv mostly
  • *yelp – low end dining, the open now feature is great, heavily influenced so read w/ caution
  • starbucks – caffeine & snacks, made coffee cool again

 Shopping: It is not a sport or fun for me, but my credit cards don’t lie and I do buy stuff

  • *keyring – put all your loyalty cards in the app. (lots of after midnight eating out of 24 hr grocery stores for this consultant)
  • *amazon – get Amazon’s price by scanning a bar code
  • Every big box retailer (Lowes, Home Depot, Target, etc.)

 Travel: makes sitting hours in small seats inside flying tubes slightly easier

  • *flightaware – track a flight in flight
  • *uber – get a taxi, car, SUV in most major cities (signup & CC required)
  • flightboard – nostalgic look at what is departing and arriving at an airport
  • hipmunk – travel planning and discount fares – love the interface, so powerful on web & as an app
  • tripadisor – use for cities, hotels, & restaurants, etc. some helpful materials, I write reviews under ccflroadwarrior (Cape Coral FL Road Warrior)
  • worldclock – the iPhone / iPad has a decent one, but this is better
  • Your Hotel chains (mine is mostly Hilton)
  • Your Auto Rental company (mine is mostly National Car, Hertz sometimes)
  • Your top airlines mobile app (mine is mostly Delta and sometimes American)

I hope this helps you with travel and the necessary work / life integration (replaced work / life balance since mobile device proliferation).  Feel free to share and reply with your favorites and thoughts. I’m always open to better ideas for better outcomes.

 

Oracle & SAP: Please focus on innovation, please, please!

Boxing DogI’m glad to see the SAP, TomorrowNow, Oracle debacle drawing to a close as reported in Forbes.  While we all want to be fairly paid for our innovations and no one wants to be ripped off, we don’t need individuals, leaders, and whole companies spending all their efforts and focus on  suing, counter-suing and legal maneuvers.   I’ve always believed that as soon as you start involving lawyers, you are already losing or at least skimming off your capability.  It is pretty clear to me that TomorrowNow was wrong and SAP owned them, so I’m not arguing the verdict at all, but the huge waste of energy, focus, and innovation.

The recent announcement on the settlement seems reasonable in that it compensates Oracle for damages plus penalties. Forbes reported ‘A three-judge federal bench upheld the judge’s ruling and awarded approximately $357 million in damages, with about $121 million in lost profits for Oracle and $236 million in infringement profit for SAP, stating the previous award was “based on undue speculation.”‘  This is long way from the $1.3B initial reward which was headline worthy.  It also seems large enough to discourage bad behavior and compensates Oracle, or at least their lawyers, fairly.

Putting aside the huge dollars here, can you imagine how much of the Oracle and SAP teams’ energies went into this lawsuit?  What if both companies just focused on building better databases? tools? products? ERP systems? clouds?  It seems when companies get sucked into these types of legal battles, the only winners possible are weaker competitors who can focus on innovation and clients while the big guys “duke it out” in the courts. 

Can SAP and Oracle just go back to creating great products because while you were filing legal briefs, you competition didn’t rest.  Ultimately, the real loser was the consumer who is paying for all the legal overhead and distractions when they buy your products.  So please, please, please, go back to building better mouse traps.  I got lots of mice.

Large IT company business models and the cloud

cloudubq:

Vijay,

I agree with your overall analysis that Cloud is changing business serving up cloud as IaaS is low margin business, but I also agree with @Jeff that selling the best business practice will succeed. To your point, the internal practice of the business only has to be “good enough” to succeed. Great business practices don’t ensure success any more than not so go ones failure. Abysmal business practices will sink even the best business.

I’ll also remind you I heard the same cries with “host to client/server”, “brick & mortar to e-business”, “coding to SOA”, and now “cloud”. I agree it is substantial and opens a world of opportunities. I don’t think wholes RIFs do anything but find the CEO and CFO a quarter worth of cash with longer term implications. What I do believe is change will always happen and businesses have 3 options: 1) Move (get out, sell off, etc.), 2) adapt (use the change to advantage), or 3) Die. Lack of decision and action is electing #3 and will never work in an ever changing environment.

SAP will adapt, it just may not have big salesforce and sell differently, because of the value in the optimized business processes. IBM will adapt, but may not have HW business and will learn to sell value on top of the cloud and not just the base cloud (IaaS) plus move most of its SW business to cloud like bluemix (http://www-01.ibm.com/software/ebusiness/jstart/bluemix/).

BTW, love to see what you think of the increase of the outside in programmer over the inside out programmer (traditional IT).

Originally posted on Vijay's thoughts on all things big and small:

Earnings season arrived and I am wondering how long big companies can keep their current structures and business models . Size is not always an advantage – it can actually destroy the value of a company .

Big companies try to attack this problem by firing a lot of people . But I have hardly known a company that has succeeded much that way – only very few pull that off .

The problem with firing enmasse is that you have to use broad policies to determine who needs to go . When you fire 1000s of people – not only do you end up firing people who could have done wonders , you lose other good people who will leave because they feel they can do better elsewhere . Firing people lower down in the hierarchy rarely does any company any good. Those are the peeps who do actual…

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Drive: The surprising truth about what motivates us

cloudubq:

This is truly amazing. If you pay people enough to take the issue of money off the table, then 3 factors motivate peoples behavior:
1) autonomy
2) mastery
3) purpose
Great video. Well worth the 11 minutes you’ll need to watch it. Pluse the white board illustration style is fun to watch. Thanks Jim for bringing this to my attention.

Originally posted on Jim Gentile:

View original

MongoDB for the non-technologist – It is not just what we make, it is what we make possible !

cloudubq:

Vijay,

I like your idea of making Mongo more understandable. I know I struggled with it at first. I’ve always had very strong ideas about DB structures. I so agree on the flexibility. It is both exciting and scary at the same time. As a DBA, what am I going to do if I can’t go around telling people NO and how hard my job is when they want to make a change. While I do jest, it is a significant change. A few comments, as you know I would.

Please don’t borrow slogans. It makes you into follower. There are hundreds of ideas along the same line. I always loved the GE one “we bring good things to light.” The double meaning is brilliant. That is what is marvelous about the English language. The real cloud database. An agile database that supporting your inspirations. A DB at the speed of cloud, thought, ideas, inspiration, etc. Give me a call and we can bounce a few ideas.

On the standardization, you failed to mention the why. We standardize to lower complexity and cost. We diversify, creating heterogeneity, because new capabilities come into existence. The computer, and especially the software world, grow exponentially, so there is a universe of temptation out there and more arriving tomorrow. It is every CIO’s constant problem. It is why we drown in a sea of business cases trying to solve the equation where even the constants are changing.

Regardless, good luck at Mongo and it is really cool product. I just have to find an excuse to play with it and better yet put it into a project. I’d like to be the DBA who gets to say “yes” for a change.

Originally posted on Vijay's thoughts on all things big and small:

I borrowed the title from an inspiring Intel slogan from 2008. http://www.intel.com/content/www/us/en/history/history-2008-annual-report.html

How exactly does someone choose one database over another?

That of course depends on who the “someone” is – the answer differs whether you are a developer, and ops person, an architect, an executive or an end user. If you are a developer , an ops person , a consultant or another kind of IT expert, and you are reading this – you probably already know why you chose MongoDB over other databases. Your next step is probably to convince someone else on “why MongoDB “ . And typically that person does not come with deep technical background like you do.

A good part of my job is to explain to our partners and customers what is new and different with MongoDB – in non technical terms . And having done that a few times now – I…

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Production HANA on VMware – for the few, for now

Production HANA on VMware is in “controlled availability, allowing selected customers, depending on their scenarios and system sizes to go live with SAP HANA on VMware vSphere immediately” per SAP OSS Note: 1788665 – SAP HANA Support for VMware vSphere Environments.  However, the SAP marketing team left this small stipulation off the press release and got everyone very hot and bothered.

It sounds like everyone should be able to put their HANA system on VMware.  First, my wife, who is not in the IT world, sent me a link to the NY Times SAP and VMware Head for the Future Together and then I got about dozen copies of the Market Watch Report: SAP and VMware Announce SAP HANA® for Production Use on VMware vSphere 5.5.  Well, at least that mentioned you needed the latest version of VMware.

So for now, if you want to production HANA on VMware, the main requirements are below and included in SAP OSS Note: 1788665 – SAP HANA Support for VMware vSphere Environments.

  • Must be approved for controlled availability by SAP
  • Must be on VMware vSphere 5.5
  • Must be on SAP HANA SPS07
  • Maximum of 1 TB
  • Must be on SAP approved HANA server and storage
  • Must comply to SAP’s current recommendations for vCPU and RAM
  • Must not over-provsion the CPU nor RAM
  • Maximum of 1 Virtual Machine (VM)

In other words you need the latest and greatest version of VMware and HANA running on your HANA approved appliance in a nearly non-virtual manner.  While this is less than what we all want, it is a step in the right direction.  It will allow you to manage the HANA instance under your VMware management utilities.  It makes HANA part of your Software Defined Environmental strategy.  I’m confident that over time, as it becomes Generally Available, that production HANA will have far fewer restrictions.

I’m actually looking forward to when we can run production HANA on lots of virtualization schemes.  I look forward to more of software defined service level agreement (SLA) with SAP so that other virtualization environments including the cloud providers can provide production services. Right now it is about shipping hardware to Waldorf, DE for certification and is so specific, it is not practical even for hardware manufactures.

SAP needs to move to software defined SLA would be good for everyone including SAP by making HANA more available and take less effort to certify platforms, hardware and cloud providers who want the ability to vary the make-up of servers based on market conditions and newer evolutions of chipsets, and especially my clients who want HANA, but in but running in a completely virtual word they are defining, not the one SAP is trying to define for them.

As Vishal Sikka (former SAP CTO) exits, limited Production HANA on VMware is great first step for the product he called his child, HANA. Unlimited production HANA on VMware would be a great toddler-hood.  I really look forward to seeing it rapidly reach its teenage years and start trying to run on everything everywhere.  Isn’t that what teenagers do?

 

SAP Sapphire 2014 – a look forward

This is my 13th Sapphire and I still get excited by them.  For me, it is old home week where I get to meet all the people I know, I’ve seen before, and sometimes those that I just get to read about.  Since I’m terrible at names and faces, it is a struggle for me, but it is worth the effort.  Even for the IBMers, I review the roster before I go to make sure I’ve seen the names.  If I can tie the person to idea or something we worked on, I can almost always remember them.

I look forward to walking all the solution booths and listening to the pitches from each company.  Some are great and inciteful.. Most are OK.  A few don’t have clue what an SAP system is or will be.  In that case, I just hope I got the wrong person.  I’m not a fan of the professional showperson booths, but some are entertaining.  I prefer to speak with the experts on the topic.

I’m not happy that some of my favorite vendors are not going to be at the show because SAP is limiting the application life cycle management (ALM) vendors at least according to the the exhibitor guide.  I’m rather disappointed when IntelliCorp (http://intellicorp.com/), Realtech (http://www.realtech.com/wInternational/index.php), and Panaya (http://panaya.com/) are not permitted to attend and put up booth.  I’ve seen 100’s of companies benefit from their tools.  If SAP wants to beat them with better tools – go for it.  I don’t like seeing software that benefits my clients being pushed out by marketing rules.

Specifically, for Panaya, I have a lot experience.  They are part of the IBM SAP and Oracle Upgrade methodology and we’ve added them for automated manual testing.  Specific to SAP, they are limited to ECC, but they do a great job and far better than Solution Manager. Now we are looking to work with them on Quality Management of SAP systems.  There use of cloud and collecting the “wisdom of the cloud” or crowd-sourcing knowledge is leading edge for the SAP world.  So why wouldn’t clients want to hear?  Clients are happy to benefit from previous clients’ works and even share if they think they’ll get something back of equal or greater merit.

Beyond that, there are lots of great stuff coming from SAP, IBM, and others.  If you want to hear a little more about IBM’s content, please follow my blog at IBM Insights on Business (http://insights-on-business.com/sap-consulting/ibm-at-sap-sapphire-in-orlando-june-3-5-2014/).  I should get at least one more out before the show and a few afterwards.

I’ll be spending MOST of my time around the IBM booth area.  Please do come by and ask for me, Chuck Kichler, by name.  I’d love to hear what you think about this blog, about SAP, and about IBM, to discuss your problems or ideas, or just to say hello.  Bring your business card, too.  I’ll want to write what we discussed on the back, so I can remember you, and maybe we can even do some business.

Chuck Kichler

Chuck Kichler

And, yes, I am almost up to taking pictures and using Evernote Hello (http://evernote.com/hello/), but this seems a little too big brother for me at this point.  If you are using it, can you let me know how people react to the picture part?

See you at Sapphire NOW in Orlando on June 3 – 5, 2014.