News: A Blogging Calwell Platform Change is Coming!

Change is afoot! - We're moving to

We've had a great run on Google's Blogger. The site is fairly easy to configure, and, over the years Blogger has revamped the dashboard, added permalinks and improved nearly every part of the site. And, through it all, this blog has featured stories about some of the many features and annoyances found in Blogger.

Yet, it is still lacking the kind of power we really needed. With some lingering bugs and an inability to really customize this blog, it was time to move on to another solution. This solution had to be easy to administer, customize, secure and allow all of Blogging Calwell's writers the freedom to focus on the writing, not the technology behind it.

The End of an Era: Google Apps no Longer Free

It's being widely reported today that the Google Apps Standard product is no longer offered as a free product. Released in 2006, Google Apps offered, for free, the ability to host mail, web, and other tightly integrated Google services up to 100 users. Over the years, the product has improved, while the number of free user allotment has decreased. This is generally bad news since the barriers to connecting and fully using a custom domain remain very daunting for small businesses. Google Apps offered a great starting point for the very small company in much the same way Gmail offers home users a great starting point for home email use.

Basics: Install Microsoft Office for Free on Windows

The scenario: You need to get a copy of  Microsoft Office 2010 installed on your Windows-based computer, but don't wish to buy a copy the Application. You heard there were free options available for this software but we're sure how to get the application installed. Included in Microsoft Office 2010 Starter are stripped down versions of Microsoft Excel, and Microsoft Word. In this article, you'll install a copy of Microsoft Office 2010 Starter or a trial version for free on your Windows 7 or Windows 8 computer (sadly, Windows XP is not included).

The Looming Office 2013 Pricing Debacle

As many of you know, all desktop client versions of Microsoft Office 2013 are going to see a price increase. Some of them, quite significantly so. With Office 2013 currently being released to manufacturing (RTM) and on track for a first quarter release date - many are wondering how much Office 2013 is going to cost, how high the increases are going to be and why Microsoft is raising prices on an already "cash cow" line of business. Since many business users still rely on the desktop Office application, they can't (or won't) move to the online Office 365 offering. I look at recent developments in a commonly used version of Office, in what's shaping up to be a mess.

Idea: How the Post Office Can Stay Relevant

I've occasionally thought of the struggles journalists face, with the ever-looming democratization of news, as a change of power. This kind of shift in power is good in some ways (more voices), and bad in others (noise). Generally left out of this conversation, though, is how the Post Office (and mail in general) is also facing that power shift. It appears more and more that the reliable need to send mail on paper being replaced by other tools like email, scanners, and faxing (to a lesser extent). I thought, what could the Post Office do to stay relevant?

Active Directory IS Valuble

Many have considered Microsoft's power from a consumer perspective, but in the blog "Microsoft’s Most Valuable Asset", Jeffery Padgett is spot on about what is Microsoft's major asset. he goes on to say:
Why?  Because after the fail of Novell, the only relevant, full featured alternative for the corporate marketplace is AD.  When Novell was king, NDS was everywhere.  In fact, I spent much of my career connecting devices to an NDS X500 directory.  But Novell pissed so many people off with that nasty Novell client that they started to lose market share to the then burgeoning growth of Windows NT. 
This is so on the money - and contrasting it with how Novell fell from grace in IT departments is important too. I think the operating system landscape would have been very different with a strong and powerful Novell, maybe even a "real" client operating system from them. What surprises me is why Microsoft has taken the RIM/BBM approach and avoided licensing the heck out of the Active Directory. We should have seen this thing spread out and get used in ways never intended like large address books and maybe far flung authentication schemes in the cloud. Wasted opportunity, Microsoft.

Our impressions of the iPhone 5


This is the big boy of smartphones right now. It's hard to think of a more desirable or lusted after device on the market (beyond the next iPhone itself). If you were looking for reviews, the web has them everywhere. The daunting task for any reviewer is to look at a device that is under such a huge microscope and try to add something new. We're not going to reinvent the wheel in this case; just share the experiences we've had while using the iPhone 5 on Fido for the last couple of weeks. We have to say, strong opinions or not, we can't deny how amazing this phone is.