Ready to hit the road?

Cat5I’m on a train.

No, really, I’m typing up this blog post as I travel from NYC to Rochester, NY.

That’s got me thinking about how we’re a mobile bunch – us IT folks – traveling anywhere we need to be to do the job we need to do.

This has got me thinking about how to manage Virtual Infrastructure while on the road, no small task, to be sure.

First, you need to have a connection to the Internet in general. On the ground, that’s not so hard, but does require some forethought. You’ll either need to know someplace where you can connect to WiFi, or else bring a mobile modem or WiFi hotspot with you where you’re going. You could tether your phone, but keep in mind that you may not be able to make or receive calls if you do that, so an independent data device may not be a bad idea if you travel a lot.

In the air, that’s a different story. Most major air carriers have WiFi on only a few – if any – flights. Check ahead to see if you’ll have access to connectivity as you fly the rarely-friendly skies.

Then, you’ll need a VPN. When doing remote admin for virtual systems, you will be talking to components like vCenter and Virtual Machine Manager, which means you’ll literally be transmitting the keys to your kingdom across the networks you’re on. Sending that data “in the clear” is a very bad idea.

Once safely linked to a network, you need the right configuration at your datacenter. For VMware, you can use the vCenter Web clients to do most things, but you may want a Remote Desktop Server to allow you to access the full versions of various tools while on the road. This might be Microsoft’s own RDP server, or could be a third-party remote-access tool to your own desktop – depending on the security policies of your organization.

For Cloud platforms, this becomes a bit easier. As these systems are typically designed to be administered via Web interfaces anyway, you won’t need the RDP server, but you still need the connectivity and security. Make sure your vendor supports linking to their tools over HTTPS/SSL and use it – always.

Once you have all these tools and tech lined up, you can administer your Virtual Infrastructure from just about anywhere you can get a mobile signal. Just remember to go slowly and ensure that you save your progress at every opportunity. You never know when the cell network will give up the ghost, leaving you with no connection and a lot of work half-done.

Photo Credit: nrkbeta

Traveling with your Mac and Gear

Airliner in flightNearly everyone will have to travel somewhere at some point in time. For work or play, we tend to travel a lot, on the whole. When you travel, you’re gonna want to take your Mac and your Apple gear with you, and that means you have to remember a few tips:

– Get a case. Nothing can ruin a trip like that $2000 plus MacBook Air getting banged up, and that one-piece case looks beautiful, but dents easily. Get yourself a carrying case and a skin or shield for it. Same goes for your iDevices. No matter what Apple says, a $3 screen shield is a good idea, and a case will often save you from a cracked device.

– Plan your baggage. Remember that iPads and MacBook Pro and Air are all electronic devices that must be taken out of your carry-on luggage and placed in a bin to go through airport security. Don’t bury them at the bottom of your bags and scramble for them in line.

– Get AppleCare+. Things get broken (even with care and cases) and get lost/stolen too. AppleCare+ and/or a 3rd-Party warranty (I use SquareTrade myself) can get your stuff back.

– Sign up for Find My i now. This service allows you to track your phone and iPad if you should lose them someplace. Quite handy when you’re not sure if you left your phone at the hotel, the client’s site, or the pizza joint you were just at.

– Get a travel power strip. You’ll be everyone’s friend with one of these things, because they turn one power outlet (which always seems to be hard to find) into three or more. Many vendors make travel-ready power strips that are compact, and typically have USB ports built in for your iDevices too. It’s hard to ask someone to unplug their stuff so you can charge, it’s easy to ask them to unplug it when you’re going to create three outlets that you both can share.

– Keep an eye on the FAA and TSA sites. The Federal Aviation Administration and Transportation Security Administration are changing rules quite often. They may be allowing more electronic devices to be used during takeoff and landing, or changing what kinds of batteries you can bring into the plane. Have a quick look at their sites before your trip, so you are in the know. Of course, if you’re traveling in/through/to other countries, you want to get up to speed on any local and national rules as well.

Travel safe, and travel sane!

Photo Credit: lrargerich

Why I’m not on Facebook anymore

DisconnectedSeveral folks have recently seen that I’ve disconnected from Facebook. Since I deleted my account there, I figured I should let folks know why it’s gone…

Facebook has never been good about privacy, I’m well aware of that, and had been willing to put up with the stupidity of their constant screw-ups until now. But this time was the last straw, and I’m not putting up with it any more.

Recently, Facebook updated their Data Use policies in a way that I do not agree with, and will not stand for. In short, they are allowing friends’ application to share your data with other people – who many not be on your friends list.

I have – or rather had – a lot of info in my Facebook profile that was public. I had no problems with applications sharing that data, but data that was marked as “friends only” or “private” should stay that way until I choose to share it with someone. And if I do choose to share it with someone, it should be limited to that person, not to anyone using the same apps as they are.

The Washington Post has an article that explains the new changes to the Data USe Policy, but the one point I have a major objection to is this:

Data use is further defined under the “Sharing Your Content and Information” section, which explains that applications you have downloaded have the right to see your content, given that you downloaded the app and gave it that permission. Now, it clarifies that an application your friend has downloaded also has the right to your information because you’ve allowed that friend to see your content.

I specifically have a problem with the second part of that statement, where friends’ apps can get access to non-public data on *my* profile. You want to give your information to Zynga, go for it. But you do not have the right to share my data with them unless I say I want to share it with them.

I’m sorry, Facebook, but because I chose for a friend to see some data does not mean that I want any application they use to see it – and harvest it – as well. I don’t want Farmville and dozens of other spam-friendly games to have access to information and be stuck in a situation where I cannot explicitly block them from having it.

And anyone who thinks that games and apps won’t take advantage of this to harvest info is just being naive.

The additional decision of the big F to think they can trademark the words “book,” “poke,” and several others is just insult to injury at this point. Yes, I’m aware they did it because some unsavory sites were using those words to create an implied link to FB, but let’s not incinerate the bath to get rid of both the bathwater and the baby – and the house too.

Nope, I can’t abide Facebook making private information public through applications that friends have installed. So I’ve done what anyone can do – stopped using Facebook. I’ve instructed them to delete my account, and in about another 8 days it will be gone. I’m also not alone, apparently international users are up in arms over this one, and governments may get involved. Personally I think government interference isn’t the answer, just stop using the service and Facebook will figure out that they’re loosing too much revenue to not change the policies back to a reasonable, sane setting.

Remember, our data is their product. Remove the data and you hurt their revenue. Hit them square in the pocket-book and they’ll either change or die out. There’s plenty of competition out there to take over if they cannot adapt to their users requirements.

Speaking of which, join me over on Google+ – at least they’re open about the fact that they’re evil, and they rarely ever allow apps.

Photo Credit: erix!

How thin are your partitions?

BalloonOne of the first things you do when configuring a new Virtual Machine is to define the storage resources that it will be using. Mostly, this is because even the most basic of VM’s will need someplace to put the Operating System files, and that place is a virtual disk or pass-through to a physical disk.

Alright, you have the requirements for your disks, and you want to use virtual storage (VMDK for VMware, VHD for Hyper-V, etc.) to house all files and data for this VM. Now you get faced with the decision of what kind of VM disk you want to use. There are two common choices, thin or thick provisioning for the data and systems volumes.

So what do those choices mean?

Thick provisioning (sometimes called static disk or fixed-size disk) is the idea of allocating all the space that the disk can take up immediately. So if you tell the system to create three 50GB thick-provisioned disks, you will see 3 VMDK or VHD files, each using 50GB of space get created. You can typically re-size the disks later, but this is a manual process.

Thin (or dynamic, or expanding) disks allocate space only when necessary, and automatically. They typically start out with a few hundred MB of space, but are capable of growing up to whatever limit you set on them as required.

So why would you choose one over the other?

Thick provisioned disks allow you to explicitly allocate storage to machines where you know that you’ll need X amount of space most of the time. In earlier versions of hypervisor tools, they also offered better performance because the hypervisor didn’t need to dynamically track each volume and expand it over time. However, most of the performance issues are no longer present, so the choice to use fixed-size volumes is more about simply knowing for certain that a particular amount of space is necessary.

But, what if you’re not sure how fast a group of five servers will grow, but you do know that only two of them will grow at all – just not which two. You don’t want to allocate all the space for all the volumes when you know that three servers won’t ever need that much space. It’s a waste of (potentially expensive) disk space. That’s where thin provisioning comes in.

Think of a thin-provisioned disk as a water ballon. It starts off as a very deflated balloon with just a tiny bit of air in it to get it started. Then, as water (data) is poured into the ballon, it swells up to the maximum size over time. You don’t have to do anything to get the balloon to grow except add more water – in much the same way as adding data to a thin disk makes its size increase.

If you have just the one water balloon, the only problem you have is trying to put in more water than it can hold at maximum. Stay below that much water, and you can add and remove water whenever you want. Thin disks are limited by the maximum amount of space you declare they can use, but can grow and shrink within those limits as necessary.

Now, back to our five server scenario. Let’s say you had five balloons in a rigid box that could only allow any two of them to grow to full size. So long as only two get that level of water, you’re fine. If a third tries to grow too big, all the balloons pop and leave you with a major mess.

In thin provisioned disks, the rigid box is the total amount of physical disk you have to work with. So as long as not all five VM’s try to use up their full allocated space, you’re fine. Have too many disks use up too much space, and boom.

For our scenario, I know that only two will ever grow to their full capacity, I’m just not sure which two it’ll be. So I put all five VM’s in the same balloon box and watch them, making sure only two fill up.

That is – of course – a gross oversimplification of how thing provisioned disk works, but you get the general idea. Each disk uses up only the space they need, and can grow within the limits of the physical disk allocated to the group of VM’s. If too many disks grow too quickly, you have to jump in and move some VM’s to other storage systems to avoid running out of room to allocate space.

The good news is that most modern hypervisors have ways to move either the storage or the entire VM with minimal downtime in these scenarios. Some can even do it automatically based on the overall load of the storage attached to each VM host.

Thin provisioning can help you avoid wasting disk, and can be a great part of an overall virtualization strategy for most organizations. Just keep in mind that you have to watch thin provisioned systems a bit more carefully than their thick provisioned brothers and sisters, and you’ll master the use of disk space in no time flat.

Photo Credit: rogerss1

Getting rid of a Boot Camp partition in Lion

PartitionOne of the most frustrating experiences I’ve had with OS X is trying to remove a Boot Camp partition in Lion when I wanted to re-partition the drive. In my case, I needed to build a larger Boot Camp partition, and had too much free space on the system partition.

With Lion, when you attempt to change the drive partitions on the system volume from inside either Lion or the Recovery Disk (which you either buy or make), you get an error about the Disk Utility complaining that it “couldn’t unmount the volume.”

That’s what you’d expect if you booted from the system drive, but getting it when booting off of a Recovery Disk or some other partition is maddening!

The issue isn’t the system partition itself, but the Recovery Partition used by Lion. This partition masquerades as part of the OS X system partition, and therefore the system partition cannot be removed.

There is a way around it though:

First, be sure you have no data that you wish to keep on any other partition. Be EXTREMELY sure of this before going forward, and take a backup just to be safe.

Now, go back and take a backup, because I know you didn’t do it before.

After all data you want is safely off the unwanted partitions, go into Disk Utility (you can do this from a regular boot, you do not need to boot into the recovery partition).

Go to the disk that contains the unwanted partitions – it will be listed by it’s hardware name (such as 250GB Toshiba XXX HDD). Click on the unwanted partitions, and then click the minus button below the partition graphic. This will remove the unwanted partition.

After you remove all unwanted partitions, click in the lower-right corner of the system partition and drag it to fill up the empty space. The Disk Utility will extend the partition without error and give you an expanded system partition.

Note that you have to remove all partitions between the one you want removed and the system partition, you cannot resize “around” other partitions on the volume. You also cannot remove the system partition itself. You can re-install OS X to remove the existing system partition and create a new one, but you cannot simply delete it.

That’s it, now you can run the Boot Camp Assistant and re-partition the drive as you see fit.

Good luck!

Photo Credit: TANAKA Juuyoh

Klout: What’s in a number?

43Most folks who use Social Media know about Klout – the ubiquitous rating/ranking system that shows what you’re influential in. Love it or hate it (and there are equal numbers of people on both sides of that argument) most folks just plain don’t understand it.

There are many rating and ranking systems for Social Media, from Kred to Twitgrader and back again. Klout seems to keep its status as the perennial favorite though, and many writers, employers and pundits are beginning to look at Klout scores to see if someone is really as big as they say.

The first major question I get is “Do I have a Klout account?” followed closely by “I didn’t sign up for this! Why is it there?”

Everyone who has a *PIBLIC* Twitter account, and most folks who have G+ and/or Facebook accounts, also have a Klout account by default. Your score gets tracked based only on PUBLIC information you share on those networks, and nothing more. They’re not doing anything illegal, and without you specifically signing up and confirming who you are (Klout uses OAuth to confirm identity), no one can give you +K or otherwise interact with you on Klout. You just have a public score, nothing more. Note: You can get rid of even your public score by opting-out if you want to.

Once you do log in, you can see your score, and see how you appear to be influenced and what you’re influential in yourself. These metrics are managed by the Klout numbers and algorithms.

But, how do they get to those numbers?

Unfortunately, the ranking systems used by Klout are proprietary and confidential. They’re also subject to change at any moment – and a recent change that knocked most people’s scores down about 10 points created a near exodus from the service itself. There are, however, a few things we know Klout looks at:

1 – Your number of followers, and the ratio of how many folks you follow to how many follow you back. This means you can’t bump your score up by just getting 1000 bots to follow you, and also that you can hurt your score if you follow significantly more folks than follow you back. Again, the equations are a closely guarded secret, but these metrics appear to influence your score.

2 – How you interact with others, and how they interact with you. This means Likes, ReTweets, Replies, etc. Klout is looking to see if people actually read what you tweet and post, or if they’re just following you and never actually looking at what you share.

3 – What topics you appear to influence. This is the most confusing topic – based on questions I get asked all the time about why people appear to be influential in one topic or another. It’s not what *you* tweet about, it’s what the people who interact *with you* are tweeting about most. If the majority of folks who follow you tweet about cars, Klout figures that you must be influential about cars, since the folks who specifically follow you are talking about that topic a lot.

4 – How influential your followers are. Not only do you need to interact with other people, but you should interact with influential people if you want a higher Klout score.

All that (and – according to the company – some more too) gets put into a mathematical formula that attributes different weights to different components. This spits out your current Klout score.

In addition, what you appear to be influential about and those you appear to influence on those topics (as well as those who appear to influence YOU on those topics) are calculated.

Then, when you visit your Klout page, you see a readout of your current score, the topics you seem to be influential on, and who you appear to influence and be influenced by. Klout doesn’t say when scores are calculated, but I have never noticed my score being updated more than once a day or so.

Now, what does all this mean? Not much really, in the grand scheme of things. You can happily ignore Klout entirely, and even opt-out of the scoring completely if you want. However, if you want to see what you appear to be influential in, Klout can be one (of many) ways to find out that information.

How to use Klout is another story. You can give someone who influenced you a nod by giving them +K on the topic they influenced you about. If they don’t show up on your influencer list, you can search for the person and give them +K that way. As you gain more Klout, you can even add topics to other people, but they (and you) always have the ability to remove any topics from lists. Other folks can give you +K and add topics for you as well via the same methods.

With enough Klout in certain topics, you can become eligible for perks. These are discounts and free stuff from advertisers who want you to see and play with their products and services. You’re never under obligation to accept a perk, and even when you do you are not required to say anything about it online unless you want to. It’s entirely up to you if you wish to participate in any given perk, and you can tweet and post whatever you want about it afterwards.

Personally, I’ve found some perks useless, and said so on Twitter and other places. No advertiser has ever come after me for doing so – though a couple of times they did indeed try to reach out to help with whatever was going wrong. I’ve also had great perks and tweeted about how good the item or service was – so advertisers know they can get free publicity through Klout.

One last thing, you should avoid spamming your Klout interactions whenever possible. I, personally, limit myself to 3 or 4 Klout tweets per day at a maximum, to keep the timeline manageable. I’ll give +K to a few folks each day, and acknowledge one or two of the folks who gave me +K as well, but that’s it. Spamming your score, metrics, and/or 10-20 +K’s each day is a great way to ensure your Klout score will go DOWN as tons of people unfollow you – so remember to use it wisely if you choose to use it.

If you don’t want to be part of it? That’s fine! You can ignore any Klout-related posts and just ignore the whole thing if you want, or you can opt-out if you really hate the idea. For the rest of us, it’s a fun way to see who and what we influence. Nothing more, nothing less, and nothing to even pay attention to if you don’t care.

Photo Credit: Sean Rogers1

Demystifying VMware’s desktop options

VmdesktopWhen it comes to running Virtual Machines (or creating, editing and managing them) on your desktop, there are several tools you can use. Some are free, others are paid-for software packages, and since a lot of folks use VMware for their server environments, they’re looking at VMware for their desktop virtualization as well.

VMware, for their part, has done quite a lot to create tools that allow you to do everything from just running a pre-configured VM on your desktop to full create/edit/manage tools. In some cases, you can just install ESX to your desktop hardware, but it is cumbersome due to hardware requirements, and is overkill for most desktop VM projects.

So, you decided you want a desktop VM suite that can give you all the tools you need, navigate to VMware’s website, and find they have more than one to choose from. Which is the right one for you?

VMware Player is designed for running VM’s created by others in a very limited capacity. Generally, it is used for demonstrating or trying out other technologies within a VM, and not for VM projects you’re managing yourself. I say this due to a few restrictions in the VM Player F.A.Q.:

– Non-commercial use only. This means that without proper authorization from VMware, you can’t use Player for any commercial use, so no using it to run business applications at work.

– No multi-snap, clone and other critical tools. Most of us want the ability to snap-back VM’s to a previous state or to quickly clone a VM for testing something new.

– No Teams or End-Point Security. Again, only critical if you’re planning on using the tool in a commercial environment, which you’re not going to be doing anyway due to the licensing restrictions.

So now that the free option is out of the way, which tools *should* you use for your desktop? That mostly depends on what OS you are running as your host machine:

Windows and Linux can use VMware Workstation.

OS X uses VMware Fusion.

Both of these products have support for running multiple VM’s in groups, snapshoting, cloning and import/export functions. VMware Fusion also has direct tie-ins to OS X that allow Windows apps to appear as if they’re part of the Mac desktop, which is handy for those of us on Apple’s platforms.

All three tools support a wide variety of guest OS’s, including Windows, various distributions of Linux, Chromium, and (in limited circumstances) OS X.

And that’s actually it! VMware has more desktop products (Like View and ACE), but these are designed for Virtual Desktop Infrastructure, not creating and running VM’s on a fully-fledged workstation or laptop with its own OS installed.

So, to sum up:

Non-Commercial light VM use: VM Player

Windows and Linux full-featured VM platform: VMware Workstation

Mac OS X (host) specific VM Platform: VMware Fusion

Have fun virtualizing on your desktops!

Photo Credit:

The Mac App Store might not be the best way to get software.

DelayedWhen the Mac App Store first hit, I was all for it. Things just seemed easier since anything I bought there could be installed on up to 5 Macs, and would be easier to manage and update.

Things didn’t turn out quite that way…

While the Mac App Store is great for finding, buying, and downloading software, it has major issues when it comes time to keep that software updated. Since developers can’t just post their updates to the store, those critical patches can be seriously delayed, and that’s never a good thing.

For example, I use an app called HyperDock. It’s a great app and very handy for figuring out the various windows an app has open. The problem is that there has been an updated version of HyperDock out for a few weeks now, but delays in submission and clearance in the Mac App Store mean I have yet to get the new version. I can’t just download the update from the vendor, because the Mac App Store licensing is not compatible with the retail licensing that the vendor uses everywhere else. That’s not the vendor’s fault, they literally cannot use the same licensing method for the version sold through the Mac App Store.

This is incredibly common, from what I’ve seen myself and heard about over the last half-year. Some apps get updates immediately, others wait weeks or longer to get the approval and post the update in the store. If the update is just visual or fixes minor bugs, that’s understandable, but some of these updates are major and cannot wait.

Then there’s upgrades. Most software developers have policies in place where all minor upgrades (i.e. 2.1 to 2.3, .4 and .5) are free. Major upgrades (i.e. 3.x to 4.x) are not free, but are offered to existing customers at a very discounted price. The Mac App Store doesn’t have any way to handle that, and therefore you’d have to buy the whole software package over again if the vendor doesn’t want to supply free upgrades for the next major version.

Finally, there’s free trials. With the Mac App Store, you either buy a piece of software, or it’s free. There is no middle ground, and no way for a developer to issue a time-limited key for a free demo. Some developers have created free versions of their apps with greatly limited feature sets, but that’s not the same as “try our product for 30 days with all functions available.” For apps that cost more than the $1.99 level, a free trial makes spending the cash on the full package a lot more justifiable.

There are a lot of alternatives to the Mac App Store, including MacUpdate which I talk about in this blog quite a lot. These systems work directly with developers to allow you to download free software an buy purchasable software directly from their sites, while still having a central place to go to check on fixes, updates and upgrades. It’s where I will be getting most of my software from once again, after dealing with the nightmare that is the Mac App Store.

Photo Credit: Jordiet.

Do’s and Don’ts – Twitter

Twitter newbird boxed whiteonblueTwitter is one of the first places people think about when you say the term Social Media. While Twitter didn’t start the web 2.0 revolution, they did have a pretty big hand in shaping it.

So, what are some guidelines for using Twitter as an Information Worker?


– Do get an image. Using the default “newbie” icon for Twitter is always – ALWAYS – a bad idea. Find an image that is small enough to fit as a user icon, and that represents you, then use it. You can change this on the Profile or Bio page of your account. Remember to respect copyrights and trademarks and only use images you have the right to use.

– Do tweet about all kinds of things. Sticking to just corporate news is a sure way to lose followers fast. Try tweeting about things going on in your life that have some connection to your work. For example, if you make auto parts, talk about the work you’re doing on your own car outside of the parts you sell yourself.

– Do know what you can tweet about. Many companies have strict policies on what can, and cannot be said on Twitter by employees who are affiliated with the company. Make sure you only tweet information that is cleared and ok to send.

– Do remember it’s a conversation. Twitter is not a one-way communication tool, and so you should reply to people, start and participate in conversations, and generally remember that you don’t want to sound like a guy on a street-corner with a megaphone.

– Do keep your ratio. There’s a great temptation to follow a large number of people, but this is not a great strategy. If you’re following hundreds more people than follow you back, most experienced Twitter users will shy away from following you. The reason for this is simple, mass-following is a well-known technique employed by spammers, so you get hit with guilt by association. Start out by following no more than 25 people than follow you back, and stay at that ratio until you’re over 500 followers, then you can open it up to 50.

– Do balance your tweet types. It’s always best to mix up what you’re tweeting. Send some text, some links and some ReTweets (RT’s), and not too many of any one type. Mixing your content types allows others to see that you have a lot to share, that you’re not just spamming press releases, and that you interact with the community.

– Do keep multiple accounts for work and play. If you think you might want to tweet about stuff that isn’t acceptable to your boss, create a different account to do that. This account should clearly state that it is yours, and not affiliated with any particular company at all.


– Do not spam, ever. Though the temptation is to blast your message out to everyone all the time; keep in mind that Twitter is a conversation and make sure you’re not just spamming links to random people.

– Do not engage in “link building behaviors.” This one is critical. Many so-called Twitter “experts” will tell you to follow thousands of people, then unfollow anyone not following you back. That’s bad for a large number of reasons, not the least of which is that you’ll lose any legitimate followers you were going to get and be left with a huge list of followers who don’t listen to your message anyway. Avoid buying followers or using faulty methods like “TeamFollowBack” and the like. Be a real person, the followers will… well… follow.

– Do not DM on Follow. This is a massively annoying habit most so-called experts still engage in. Direct Messaging someone just to say “thanks for following” – or worse, pelting them with your links and ads, is a sure way to get people to immediately UN-follow you. DM’s are typically sent to mobile devices and generate alerts on the desktop, mobile, etc. This is quite annoying to anyone who gets them and finds out that they’re nothing but a “hello” message.

– Do not sweat it if people don’t follow back. You’ll find that some people don’t follow you back. Don’t worry about it. Keep doing all the things you should do, and many folks will follow you. Annoying one person who doesn’t follow you with @Replies is a sure way to ensure that many more people don’t follow you – so it’s counterproductive.

– Do not tweet on behalf of your company. That is, unless you have express permission to do so, of course. Remember that you’re someone who works *for* that company, you are not officially representing that company. Many folks have gotten in a lot of trouble for speaking on behalf of their employers.

– Do not EVER forget that Twitter is public. Even DM’s can become public in some circumstances, and if you’re tweeting for work, then your boss is looking. A lot of headaches due to this can be avoided if you follow the “Do” about keeping work and personal accounts separate.

If you’re looking for a much more comprehensive list of what not to do on Twitter, have a look at Snipe’s page on why you should not be a “Social Media Marketer” – NOTE: it’s not safe for work.

Photo Credit: Twitter

Yes you can sync your Windows Phone 7

WinphoneA lot of folks are giving glowing reviews to the new line of Windows Phone 7 devices on the market. Having had a chance to play with one of the Samsung Focus devices, I can see why. The big question for me was, can I sync it with my Mac?

Surprisingly, the answer is yes.

Being used to syncing my iPhone, I was skeptical, but not only does an official and supported way to sync exist, it works quite well on both Snow Leopard and Lion.

First, head to the Mac App Store (Apple Menu, App Store) and search for the Windows Phone 7 Connector app. That will get you set up with all the software you need. Run that app, and connect your phone to your Mac via the provided cable that came with your phone.

After the software recognizes your device, it will offer to sync data and media for you. Microsoft went out of their way to make the process simple and reliable. You can sync local files from your Mac to the phone, as well as syncing iTunes music and playlists.

There are a couple of things to note:

1 – I never got the over-the-air sync to work properly, but that might have just been a problem in my configuration.

2 – Only non-DRM media will play on the Windows Phone device. You’d expect that, and since most iTunes music files are non-DRM these days, it isn’t a problem for music. It *is* a problem for movies and TV shows, however.

3 – The sync did not seem to update play counts and other meta-information for media. Again, not unexpected, and usually not critical, but it hurts things like Last.FM scribbling.

Aside from those hiccups, the Connector app worked incredibly well, and allows you to play nice between Apple and Microsoft hardware.

Photo Credit: okalkavan