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Bob Martens

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BrainShare 2014

My BrainShare Takeaways

From November 1 through November 5 I attended two events in Salt Lake City, Utah. I was able to attend and speak at the TTP Summit at BrainShare 2014 on November 1, 2 and then attend the main BrainShare 2014 conference from November 2-5. I had a great time at both events and want to thank everyone who was involved in getting them off the ground my thanks. I’m hoping to be able to come back in the future.

If you want a look at what Novell took away from conference, you can read Bret Fitzgerald’s post over at Cool Solutions. It has a good “30,000 foot” overview of the main conference. I had the pleasure of talking with Bret and other team members at Novell and NetIQ and enjoyed every one.

Below you will find what I took away from the entire week:

  • The development changes started at Novell not too long ago are pretty much fully implemented. Every division is talking about multiple releases over a given calendar year, beta programs, getting feedback from customers earlier in the process … all good things. I know that many of the headline products have received significant upgrades over the past 12 months already and that progress is not slowing down.
  • Vibe is maybe the most criminally underused product Novell has at the moment. Talking with the guys at Code and Concept was enlightening because of all of the things you can do with Vibe as a platform for more than just simple collaboration. I have in mind to spend some time this coming year to really dig into Vibe. I feel like it could fit into multiple areas on campus with little effort.
  • The Micro Focus merger can mean some good things for the company overall, but there is still a lot of work to be done and the prospects in the distance are unknown. Many of the education customers I talked to are quietly optimistic that a change in ownership is going to, overall, be a benefit to The Attachmate Group companies. It seems that “the market” agrees as shares have been up (quite a bit) since Micro Focus announced the plan.
  • Mobility is here to stay and Novell knows it. A lot of talk about expanding the capabilities of products like Vibe, Filr, iPrint (really excited about some of this stuff), and ZENworks to make managing mobile devices even easier. That is going to be a major focus here as well (at MLC) and those products will be central to how we get those things done. I had only my iOS devices along for the trip and so I was able to use the Filr and iPrint apps to get work done. They worked well and I’m excited to see where they go in the future.
  • GroupWise moving to embrace open standards to support the Mac is a great move in my opinion. Bringing first-class IMAP, CalDAV, and CardDAV support will allow them to integrate into the Mac platform seamlessly in ways that Google and Microsoft just are not interested in (sadly). I think it is a great move.
  • Good to hear some increased development around NetIQ eDirectory and iManager. Both will be getting major version updates in the coming year and as I like both products, that makes me happy.
  • There is an excellent community of IT professionals around the Novell and NetIQ ecosystems and I am happy to continue to try to embed myself in it a little more. I’m hoping that the continued effort on bringing great products to market to solve problems we are facing will grow the ranks again.

I’ll have more to talk about in the future as products start to be released. I am also hoping to talk briefly about my experience of going iPad-only for a week-long trip. More on that in the future.

Bad Wireless Routers

At Martin Luther College we allow students to bring wireless routers into their dorm rooms so that they can connect their devices to our network. One thing we have seen creeping into more and more routers is the interstitial landing page and “helpful” software from the router manufacturers getting in the way of using our network.

Belkin and Netgear are the two worst at the moment but if history repeats, it will work its way into everything. The routers will ping out to some server (or a number of different servers) and if it doesn’t receive a response, it will throw up its page and keep you from using the network.

Awesome.

Even better is that some Belkin routers coming in recently have had some “content filtering” turned on which means that the router cannot get the proper DNS servers to allow them to register the device.

Awesome-er.

Defaults matter. Software matters. Hardware that might work just fine otherwise is broken by poor software with poor defaults. It isn’t helpful.

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I’ll See You at BrainShare 2014

I’m looking forward to being able to attend BrainShare 2014 at the beginning of November. I’ll be there spending as much time as possible learning about the mobile and file-sharing options from Novell and NetIQ and especially focused on our upcoming Novell OES migration.

Before that, however, I will have the opportunity to speak with my education IT friends at the TTP BrainShare Summit 2014 happening on Saturday and Sunday. I will also have the pleasure to speak there on Saturday. The title of the talk is SmallOps: My First Year in IT Operations at Martin Luther College, and much of it will be familiar to those who read this blog but I’ll post what I can after the talk.

It should be a good time and if you happen to see me, just grab me to say “hi”!

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