14 September 2011

Another operating system to rival Windows

I cannot remember a time when the prominence of competitors to Microsoft's ubiquitous operating system Windows (r) has ever had so much overt competition. For years, we have lived with various versions of Windows (r) on our laptops and PCs from the early '90s to now.

Linux has been around for some time now in various forms, such as Ubuntu or Fedora, but has not reached the mainstream of consumer computers (although the number of web servers running using Linux is enormous), partly because it is a little more tricky to install than Windows (r) and also because there are few applications for it.

Google has its own open source operating system, ChromeOS, which is now available pre-installed on a small number of laptops which looks intriguing. For mobile devices, Microsoft has been severely beaten up by Apple and Google with their respective iOs and Android operating systems.

However, there is another operating system in the offing which sprang to prominence yesterday when Russian President Dmitry Medvedev was approached by a high school student for €1m for funding to finish development of their own operating system, ReactOSIt is supposed to be compatible with Windows applications but much faster than the 'bloated' Microsoft OS. 

Whether ReactOS gets the funding remains to be seen, but the fact that the choice of operating systems for users is growing demonstrates the growing pressure on Microsoft to innovate or face a future where their operating system is overtaken by quicker and faster competitors. 

12 September 2011

ChromeOS so far

I spent much of the last weekend trying to install the ChromeOS onto my netbook (when I wasn't playing cricket, watching the rugby or mending a bicycle), following the instructions on a number of websites and from a magazine to the letter but without success. I have tried adjusting the boot order on my netbook to boot from a USB stick. I have tried burning an image onto a CD to try it on an old laptop, but nothing has worked so far. I will try again next weekend.

However, I have found a couple of good websites on Chrome, one of which is Chrome Story

07 September 2011

Trying out Google Chrome OS

Having setup and implemented Google Apps using my domains, I decided to try out Google's operating system , Google ChromeOS, which is based upon the open source operating system, Linux.

I originally thought I would have to buy a Chromebook, a laptop with ChromeOS pre-installed. Having recently bought a Samsung N145 Plus netbook, buying a Chromebook seemed extravagant. However, I discovered (through a link on Google+) that you can install ChromeOS for free from the web here for free. 

So far, I have followed the instructions to the letter and I have had ChromeOS running on my netbook via a USB stick, although when I boot up the machine without the USB stick in the slot, I seem to have messed up my boot options so that neither the Ubuntu or Windows 7 options appear.

Nevertheless, I am not too worried about this because I have backed up all my important documents and photographs to the 'cloud' via SugarSync and so I will just re-install Ubuntu from another USB stick. I am going to wipe over Windows 7. I don't need it anymore.

I will write up further adventures with ChromeOS over the next few days when I have played around with it some more.

06 September 2011

Google Apps in action

For the past couple of weeks, I have been setting up Google Apps to see how easy they are to use and to understand how good they are.

I have been using Google Docs, Spreadsheets GMail for some years now and I have always liked their ease of use and speed.

But, I have never, until now, taken my expereince of them further than basic use. Having set up hosted blogs with WordPress and configured them to how I wanted them to look and running,  I was hoping that it would be just as easy to set up Google Apps so that I could have a shared calendar, group email, and a wiki using several domains I own.

I was surprised at just how easy it was to set up the technologies. I, firstly set up the domains with the 'adventuretravelling.co.uk' as my main domain with two other domains 'under it'. This was easy to do with step by step instructions in the set up process. It was simply a matter of chaning the DNS records with the ISP (1and1) through which I had bought the domains.

The next step, email setup, was just as easy to do. Instead of using the IMAP and POP3 email system with 1and1, I changed email server details on 1and1 with the setting provided by Google (and following their instructions to the letter).

Within an hour of starting, I had configured all of my email accounts and domains so that I now have a great array of features and tools which only companies with an IT department and a host of servers in a temperature controlled server room could have achieved a few years ago.

The beauty is that setting up the Google Apps has not cost a penny.

In addition to the standard applications available to you in the free edition I have used, you can quickly add on a range of free or very cheap applications built by other companies to help your small business with other business activities. These applications integrate with your Google Apps so you, for example, set up a social CRM and (customer relationship management) system very well, very quickly and easily.

I have hooked up signed up for MailChimp to help me with my mailing list for my adventure travel website, Two for Africa, which updates subscribers with an email when I post a new entry onto the diary section.

Furthermore, I can now see all emails through my GMail application on my Android phone (a Samsung Galaxy S II) for my personal GMail account and my business accounts. It's seamless and easy to set up.

I am very impressed with Google's cloud computing system. Small businesses are going to like the advantages and savings they can make using Google Apps.