Monday, April 23, 2012

IT & WebDev Are Not The Same Thing!

I attended the 2012 CITRT event last week-- which was great, btw. Another attendee who is focused on web development (WebDev) briefly blogged his thoughts about the event and did a good job from the WebDev side of contrasting the two disciplines.  They really are different disciplines!

BTW... click here to go to a previous post on this topic that goes into more detail.

Sunday, April 15, 2012

My Favorite iPad Apps

I'm often asked what my favorite iPad apps are.  Here's the current list (most are free; some aren't):
  • Communications
    • Bria - a softphone that works with VoIP PBX systems
    • IM+ Pro - a jabber client that interfaces with private instant message systems
    • Twitterific - Twitter client
  • Productivity
    • FileBrowser - good app to attach to file servers and copy files back and forth (does not auto-sync, though)
    • iThoughtsHD - mind mapping brainstorming and note taking app
    • Vtrace - helps show folks how many hops there are between them and the Internet server they're connecting to
  • Fun & Games
    • ArtPuzzles - great puzzle app
    • Backgammon - good app, but it cheats a lot
    • Hangman
    • Sudoku +
    • Zentonimo - another fun puzzle app
  • Mobile Empowerment
    • American Airlines HD
    • Lifelike Clock - great alarm clock
    • iTap RDP - great terminal server client
    • Spb Wallet - great electronic wallet that syncs with Windows, Mac, and Droids
  • Media
    • Netflix
    • Trailers
  • Reference
    • Bible from
    • Bible Verse
    • Kindle
    • Logos Bible
    • RecipeBook
  • Utilities
    • Air Display - makes iPad a WiFi-connected additional display for Mac and Windows computers
    • Calculator HD
    • Net Master HD - great network poking app
    • NHK Clock HD - great analog clock app
    • Speed Test

Friday, April 13, 2012

Airline Captain Tech Support

I have a friend who's an airline captain for a major airline.  He's also an awesome surfer.  And when we talk our conversation is very casual and totally surfed out!  We were sitting on our boards one day waiting for waves, and I asked him if he has to talk over the plane's public address system very often, or if he delegates it.  He said, "Oh, dude-- it's the worst!  I have to play it so straight!"  That story still makes me laugh!

Good airline pilots are good for many reasons.  One is that they keep their passengers updated when things might not appear to be going as originally planned.  Like when you're in the line-up to take off at some airports and the captain comes on the P.A. and lets you know that your plane is sixth in line to take off.  That's helpful information!  It didn't fix anything, but just getting the status update helps you feel more comfortable.

That's how we, as IT professionals, need to approach tech support.  When there's a lull in the action, before they can start to feel like maybe they're being ignored, let them know the status of things!  Letting them know, for instance, that you're waiting to hear from the manufacturer on something helps them know you're doing all you can on their behalf.

Put yourself in their shoes.  If you'd start to feel impatient or neglected at a certain point, become their advocate and proactively give them a status update!  It takes very little effort and goes a long way towards earning their trust and appreciation.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

New Article on 3 Things Needing Attention on Every Network

I released a new article to the publisher on three things that need attention on every network. Click here to read a free advance copy!

MBS is Growing Up! Finally!

Our firm, MBS, has been serving Christian churches and ministries for nearly 26 years!  When we started we offered six different services which the Lord used to meet clients' needs; but over the years He has led us to focus better and better.  Beginning in 2011 our only focus is serving the IT needs of Christian churches and ministries.

We also launched the next generation of those services in the Fall of 2011:  cloud hosting of Exchange, SQL, and VoIP servers.  All done in our secure, state-of-the-art data center.  Honestly, I have been surprised at how well The Church is responding to those hosted services!  I'm very excited about it; we love serving Christian churches and ministries well!

This month we added a new tool for our internal use: a help desk support ticket tracking system.  With our growing team of IT engineers we needed a better way to keep track of our clients' support requests.  Though we may eventually outgrow it, we're using SpiceWorks.  When a client emails our support team it automatically generates a support ticket.  It's only been live about a week and already I'm liking it!

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Sending Text to Phones from Email Clients (i.e. Outlook)

Sometimes it's handy to send someone a text message (SMS) via email.  It's easy to do!  Just address the email to the intended recipient's cell phone number-- including the area code but without a preceding 1-- and append it as follows:
  • ATT:
  • Sprint:
  • T-Mobile:
  • Verizon:
For instance, if you wanted to send a VerizonWireless customer a text message via email, address is to