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6:38PM

Requiem for the old Windows Cmd Shell

Another vestigial part of Windows gets deprecated

Damen y Messieurs: can we say a rather nice eulogy for Ye Olde Windows CMD Shell?

While sad, for CMD has been an integral part of Windows since Windows 1.0, IIRC.

It has served us well.

Form the days of the old autoexec.bat batch, config.sys, files, TSRs, and all other quick-and-dirty uses for it, the windows command shell has served us well.

Since the move to GUI Windows, it has worked very well in the background, and always ready when needed.

Early this week, Windows Shepherdess Dana Sakar revealed that going forward, the default CLI shell in Windows will be PowerShell

To simply describe PowerShell as “the Windows command line on steroids” is to gravely misunderstand both the product, and the immense capabilities it delivers to both users and system administrators.

A brief explanation of PowerShell is on this Wikipedia page, and the official Microsoft PowerShell page is here.

Rather understandably, several of the yum-yums masquerading as tech media these days have completely misread Dana’s words, and completely misconstrued her statement to mean that CMD will vanish from Windows in the next – Redstone 2 – release.

That is simply not true.

The bottom line is this:

Windows ‘Redstone 2’ will come with PowerShell as the default shell. But CMD will also ship with the OS.

However, though the old CMD will be invisible, so to speak, it remains a part of Windows, and is available to anyone who wants it. Additionally, it can be set as the default shell, if that’s a user’s choice.

But, why would you?

Please learn, and use PowerShell.

It will serve you better.

Fortuitously, Windows expert and technology journalist Jonathan Hassell has a fantastic tutorial, <PowerShell> for Total Beginners. He is also offering a free 4-day crash course for beginners, available here. I highly recommend it.

Here lies Windows CMD
It served us well.

© 2002 – 2016, John Obeto for Blackground Media Unlimited

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5:11PM

Final Thoughts on Dell EMC World 2016

Windows-Live-Writer-Off-to-Dell-EMC-World-2016-Austin-Texas_13D3C-For years, the old HP basked in the glow of a very dominant position: it was the undisputed Big Kahuna of enterprise computing.

HP was the only company that could deliver end-to-end solutions, from mobiles to big iron, and with supercomputers thrown in.

It was even involved in the design of chips with partners, for which Intel Itanium comes to mind.

No longer.

HP broke off into two major parts, and HP Enterprise, the former enterprise division of the larger firm, has continued to shed subsidiaries and departments that do not, or no longer, fit into the vision developed for the company by HPE CEO Meg Whitman and her board of directors.

Into this breach, you will find Dell Inc.

And I must tell you, Dell has stepped up!

A few years ago, Dell was taken private by a group led by its founder Michael Dell, and just ahead of last week’s Dell EMC World, it closed a deal to by EMC Corporation.

Now, Dell rules the enterprise hardware space.

Not only that, Dell has assembled a group of firms with a rather delectable ownership of envied computing hardware under the Dell Technologies banner. These range from EMC, SonicWall, Virtustream, Pivotal, VMWare, RSA Security, Secureworks.

I attended the inaugural Dell EMC World, as part of a renewed interest, and focus on Dell products, and I have to admit that I came away impressed with what Michael Dell and his group have put together.

!cid_image004_png@01D22A9B

The new Dell is bigger
Without a doubt, the new Dell has doubled in size, both from a revenue, and from a headcount perspective.

Dell should be able to leverage this scale to wring out better deals and saving from everyone involved in their supply chain, enabling it (Dell) to compete better.

The new Dell is broader
The new Dell has a breadth of offerings* that can’t be matched by anyone else in computing. This is the position HP enjoyed before it basically, de-conglomerated.

From desktops to outfitting datacenters, Dell is now able to be the vendor of choice for any other firm.

*Strike mobiles from the list. Michael Dell himself emphatically said Dell – the company will not be doing mobiles again.

The new Dell seems more nimble
Starting with going private, Dell seems to make choices, and pivot faster.

This is evident in the pace of new laptop and server offerings which harness the latest and greatest componentry seemingly coincident with those innovations. Their current pace is impressive. Moreover, they have discovered the power of smart, functional aspirational design as a vector in improving their brand.

The new Dell is energized
Very evident, and very palatable was the energy around Dell employees – Dellians? Dellites? Dellicians? – at Dell EMC World, and indeed, at all the Dell events I have attended.

They publicly, and privately applaud the new scale they have, the lack of the need to appease and do the quarterly dog-and-pony shows for Wall Street, and the ability to define success over a larger time horizon that allows them to be marathoners who win it all, not sprinters.

The new Dell wants to win bigly
This, they do.

And it is starting to show.

For instance, according to both Gartner and IDC, Dell is not the market leader in x86 servers, dethroning HPE.

Though this new ranking comes with the caveat that HPE’s numbers are diminished by HPE’s relinquishment of a controlling interest in a Chinese joint venture or subsidiary, the fact remains that by the crucial metric, Dell is now The Server King.

I really hope Dell is now trying to use that sales crown as both a carrot and a cudgel to cajole component manufacturers and partners alike into

However, caveats remain. Namely…

M&A digestion or indigestion
This could go either way.

So far, Dell seems to have sidestepped the issues some tech companies face when it comes to acquisitions, especially acquisitions of any largish kind.

Only Cisco systems seems to be rather adroit at closing, and absorbing, acquisitions. This makes Dell’s EMC buy a huge quod erat demonstrandum.

The cloud
For an enterprise hardware company, especially one with very tangible assets in servers, storage, and virtualization, Dell could be in a world of hurt if the clouds, especially the currently hapless consortia forming for open standardization of standards around the cloud expand from their foothold with the major cloud providers to the larger enterprises.image001

Debt Hangover
The 800-kilo Huttese-speaking lump in the room.

Managed adroitly, this could be as easy as pie, or as deadly as Jabba.

However, as we were told, Dell’s cash flow easily covers all debt obligations.

As I see it
Dell has bulked up. It can now offer most enterprises a one-stop experience from clients all the way to HPCs, with storage and services thrown in.

It has a fully engaged CEO, and an attendant army of employees marching lockstep with him to [hardware] computing Olympus.

Importantly, Dell – the man and his eponymous company – can now envision projects with long gestation period without having to dance to the waltz of Wall Street.

This makes Dell not just a formidable company, but a very dangerous one to all other hardware OEMs.

© 2002 – 2016, John Obeto for Blackground Media Unlimited

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6:13PM

Another day, another debunked Microsoft privacy- violation myth

Another day, another debunked Microsoft privacy violation myth

This time, it is the completely unsubstantiated, and rather thoroughly debunked lie that Microsoft would be giving security firm FireEye telemetry data from ALL Windows 10 devices.

I caught a whiff of the initial news during one of the few moments I was able to sneak online as I was OTG, and it pissed me the eff off!

Why would Microsoft do this I wondered?

Especially since it wasn’t a condition explicitly opted into by Windows 10 users.

And it pissed me off more.

Then, I got a few emails on the subject from acquaintances. I became most concerned, however, when I received an email from my most bleeding-edge client. This is a man who consumes the latest-and-greatest. Nevertheless, and even after migrating his company to it, he still has some reticence around Windows 10, for business IP reasons.

These untruths do not help.

Not at all!

After a few times thinking about it, especially on the jettrain back home, I started composing a blog post lambasting Microsoft for pulling a Google/Facebook/Uber.

Crisis averted.

However, upon getting home, I got an alert from a saved search for that keyword that it was all a mistake.

However, this isn’t the first. Or fifth. Or one-hundredth time Windows 10 has gotten a bad rap because of false assumptions, outright lies, or just plain FUD?

Right?

So, who is to blame?

Who is to blame?
Microsoft.

You got it.

Instead of a top Microsoft honcho to come out and unequivocally state why Microsoft needs that information, silence.

In the stead of this, Microsoft cowardly employs a legion of surrogates that try to do the job for them.

Bitte, wachsen eine Wirbelsäule, ja?

I believe Microsoft needs to simply, and plainly detail what the telemetry data is being used for.

Plainly, I say. Not in the obfuscating legalistic verbiage their current ToS and EULAs detail.

Oh, and Microsoft NEEDS to find a way of making this gathered telemetry opt in. By clearly enumerating the benefits it delivers.

Right now, it doesn’t, or isn’t hurting Microsoft, the brand.

One day, these myths just might.

How does that saying go again?

A lie repeated often enough will be treated as the truth.

Never fails.

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1:05PM

Symphony Innovate 2016: Lunch with David Gurle Part V

Presentation1Symphony Communications held their yearly Symphony Innovate confab last week in New York City.

I was there, and had the opportunity to sit at a private luncheon with David Gurle, founder and CEO of Symphony, and some other event attendees as guests.

The lunch rapidly turned into an impromptu Q&A session.

However, David was kind enough to graciously answer our questions.

My camera was at the ready, and I am bringing you a 5-part video series on the event.

This is Part II of the series, which is embedded below, Clicking on the link will take to you an ad hoc OneDrive folder from which the video will be streamed.

 

Video © & ℗, 2016, Blackground Media Unlimited

  • Part I
  • Part II
  • Part III
  • Part IV

© 2002 – 2016, John Obeto for Blackground Media Unlimited

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10:18AM

Dell EMC World 2016: The Keynotes

Windows-Live-Writer-Off-to-Dell-EMC-World-2016-Austin-Texas_13D3C-At the closing of every tech merger, and a practice I believe extends to every successful M&A, comes the inevitable victory round.

Fortuitously for Dell, the closing of their purchase of EMC occurred just seven days before the commencement of the inaugural Dell EMC World, which took place in Austin, the nearest city to Dell’s Round Rock, Texas, HQ, and away from the usual Las Vegas location for EMC World, where CXIparty is always a highlight.

Resultantly, I expected to see Michael Dell prance and preen across the stage because of his newfound position atop the hill.

Note: this was my first ever Dell World attendance. I had not engaged with Dell this closely ever before, even when they were our only recommended hardware partner.

The Pre-Event Meet & Greet

There was an informal meet-and-greet session the day before.

And Michael Dell attended.

Dell staffers, bloggers, analysts, yours truly, and yes, the lamestream tech and general press attended.

It was very good to see Dell – the man – work the crowd, affably calling out to acquaintances, easily mingling.

Why is it that some company founders have this gift? It reminded me of Jerry Sanders III and Bill Gates; gazillionaires who didn’t let their billions stand before them in their engagement with you. Steve Ballmer was also like that…

The Keynotes
Sadly, there wasn’t a lot of preening and prancing from Michael Dell during the general keynote.

Turns out, that isn’t his style.

What he displayed however, was a deep knowledge of his newly-enlarged firm which he displayed during the extended Q&A session immediately following his private analysts and media keynote.

I found it to be refreshing, enlightening to me, based on my knowledge of his company, and direct.

No questions were deemed out of order, and he answered them in a very forthright manner. None of that “I can’t tell you” or “my handler won’t let me tell you” because of the materiality of the answer bullschthako.

I like that.

His primary satyrs, one heading up Dell EMC, their enterprise unit, and the other running Dell Inc, the client devices arm, all came across as Michael Dell did. Which is nice.

They all strove to let us understand the company, their mission, and most importantly, their desire to serve their customers.

I came rather impressed at the promise of the merged company.

© 2002 – 2016, John Obeto for Blackground Media Unlimited

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8:38PM

The Logitech K780 Multi_device Keyboard Review

1This, is the tablet keyboard I have been waiting for!

I use several tablet devices on a daily basis: ElitePad 1000 G2, HP Pro Tablet, Dell Venue 8 Pro, Apple iPad, Apple iPad Air. Also, my iPhone and Windows Phone.

Not counting the Surface and Surface Pro devices which have their own keyboards.

One thing I find myself reaching for a keyboard to augment my input, and user experiences

Even with the iPads, and their myopically-vaunted touch-first user interfaces, the user experience is certainly enhanced with the use of a keyboard.

Please, stop bullschtakoing about how iOS is built from the ground up for touch. For evidence, iPad Pro, and official Apple iPad keyboards. ‘Nuff said?

So, I need a keyboard.

Preferably one that I can move across all my devices.

k780-multi-devibbbe-keyboard

Unboxing and OOBE
The K780 came in a form-fitting box with adequate padding. The bottom of the box also doubled as a setup guide.

K780 also came with built-in batteries. Pulling a tab activated the batteries, and it was time to go.

Setup was dead easy: set the tablet device to search for K780 via Bluetooth, then push the required device selector button on the K780 keyboard.

Easy.

I like easy.

The same process worked for all the devices I used in this review.

Note: you can also use the Logitech Unifying receiver if your system does not come with Bluetooth.

Using the Logitech K780 Multi-Device Keyboard
snip_20161119222301The first thing that sets the K780 apart is the integrated device stand.

This is immediately useful.

K780 users no longer need to be concerned with carrying a stand for their devices when using the keyboard.

Secondly, the K780 is a full-size keyboard, with and integral numeric keyboard.

People, this is mungo cool!

For me, a typical use is having both a tablet an my iPhone resting on K780 while using either one of the devices.

No, while up to three devices can be connected to the K780 at once, only one device can be in use. However, switching between devices is as easy as selecting the device from the three device-selector keys on the keyboard.

Logitech K780 is a soft-touch keyboard, with large round and roundish keys. They are easy to use, and the travel is just fine. The numeric keypad is a boon, and the price is just right.

Conclusions
1Category winners are always in the same arena as the losers.

What always sets them apart though, are the little things, the little attention to detail.

The Logitech K780 is one of those winners.

It checks off several things I need, and added a few I did not know I needed.

The integrated, full-length device stand is one of them. The numeric keypad is another. The former lets me use any of my tablets and for the most times, two devices side-by-side, and the latter obviates the need for me to use a full laptop.

The only missing want for me, is backlighting.

Still, this is a superb device.

Accordingly, we bestow the SmallBizWindows Business Ready Award of Excellence upon the Logitech K780 Multi-Device Keyboard.

k780-multi-device-kebyboard

k780-multi-device-keyfboard

k780-multi-device-keybobgard

k780-multi-device-kfeyboard

Devices Used

  • HP ElitePad 1000
  • HP Pro Tablet
  • Dell Venue 8 Pro
  • Apple iPad
  • Apple iPhone

© 2002 – 2016, John Obeto for Blackground Media Unlimited

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4:41AM

The HPE Proliant ML10 Review: Part 1

The HPE Proliant ML10 is the entry-level* tower server in HPE’s tower server inventory.

As part of the review series announced here, I received the latest HPE Proliant ML10 designated to an AbsolutelyWindows RealWorld Review

The AbsolutelyWindows RealWorld Review
Here at AbsolutelyWindows, we always perform real world SMB tests as part of our reviews.
Products sent in for review are placed with an appropriate business, and used there in their daily workflow in order to determine the suitability to task of the product(s).
For the Proliant ML10 review, we selected a company which has never used a server before.

The HPE Proliant ML10 Review Company
Since the ML10 is intrinsically a first server, in addition to being the entry-level tower server for HPE, we decided to place it at a fitting business for it: a purveyor of pre-owned transportation conveyances.

Okay, OK! The review company is a used car lot!

Why this company?
The firm belongs to the acquaintance of a client, and fits for the following reasons:

  1. It currently doesn’t have and they have never used a server,
  2. They would like client-server computing
  3. They have over 14 total client devices
  4. Security is now a must
  5. Privacy is necessary.

For the purposes of this review, we will refer to this firm as ML10ReviewCo.

Current ML10ReviewCo Computing Environment
In addition to the aforementioned lack of controls, and never having had a server, ML10ReviewCo has a dismal collection of PCs, mainly white boxes slapped together by their ‘computer guy’ local vendor, and from z-tier PC OEMs. A series of Android-powered tablets from hodgepodge of unknown-to-me manufacturers complete the picture.

  • 8 PCs
  • 3 Acer laptops, running Windows 8
  • 1 Asus Chromebook
  • 5 Android tablets
  • 1 leased MFC printer, and several deskside printers from a myriad number of vendors.

¡sad!

Company Goals
What ML10ReviewCo wants are four simple goals:

  1. Create a secure computing environment.
  2. Capture and secure customer data
  3. Provide audit trails for each salesdroid.
  4. Deliver rudimentary CRM data for analysis.

Fairly easy to accomplish.

We selected the following:

  • a) HPE Proliant ML10
  • b) HPE RDX for local backups
  • c) HP Desktops and monitors
  • d) HP tablets
  • e) HP deskside printers
  • f) Microsoft OneDrive for Business
  • g) Microsoft Intune/AD
  • h) Windows Server 2016 Essentials
  • i) Microsoft Office 365
  • j) Microsoft Licensing

We will obsolete all the current computing devices at ML10ReviewCo. Especially the Chromebook and the Android tablets!

Later on once the ROI on this investment is evident, we plan on introducing HPE Aruba Networks gear to the business in place of their current consumer-grade network.

Let’s do this!

The HPE Proliant ML10 Review Series

*The Proliant ML10 should not be confused with the Proliant Microserver, which, while a Proliant, and entry-level, isn’t considered a tower server.

© 2002 – 2016, John Obeto for Blackground Media Unlimited

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1:03PM

The new HP Z2 Workstation is very Droolworthy, and Ready For SMBs

I have been a user of HP Workstations since I first reviewed the then entry-level HP xw4600 in July of 2008, an exclusively using them as my desktop PCs since.

HP’s Z-Series workstations have been both performance, features, and, in a departure from the general view of HP, stylistic, leaders. ZWorkstations have also been very forward looking and future proof, and outright outliers in their spaces, whether for design, eco-friendliness, and embedded functionality such as Thunderbolt and the ZDrive. They were also the first to deliver an all-in-one workstation, and an all-in-one touchscreen workstation.

Why the epistle, you may ask?

The new HP Z2.

z2-02

Gaze.

Actually, drool. (It’s okay. I’m doing the same.)

Just in case the diminutive size isn’t apparent, this is the Z2 placed next to a cup of expresso.

z2-00

In entry guise, it can drive 3 monitors while the performance model can drive 6 monitors – SIX! – right out of the box!

The specs have me rather interested:

Intel Xeon E3-1200 V5, 32GB max of ECC or non-ECC RAM, 4 USB 3.0, 2 USB 3.0 Type-C, HP Z Turbo Drive G2, 2GB NVIDIA Quadro M620, integrated Wi-Fi.

z2-03

Moreover, it comes ready for a VESA mount.

Right away, I can envision several usage scenarios for this product where its combo of power, size, and expandability would be a boon.

*All specs mentioned are either for the ‘Performance SKU – the top model – or for a max spec unit.

Excellent work again, HP Fort Collins.

z2-05

z2-01

z2-04

More info on the Z2 can be found here.

© 2002 – 2016, John Obeto for Blackground Media Unlimited

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9:29PM

Symphony Innovate 2016: Lunch with David Gurle Part IV

Presentation1Symphony Communications held their yearly Symphony Innovate confab last week in New York City.

I was there, and had the opportunity to sit at a private luncheon with David Gurle, founder and CEO of Symphony, and some other event attendees as guests.

The lunch rapidly turned into an impromptu Q&A session.

However, David was kind enough to graciously answer our questions.

My camera was at the ready, and I am bringing you a 5-part video series on the event.

This is Part IV of the series, which is embedded below, Clicking on the link will take to you an ad hoc OneDrive folder from which the video will be streamed.

 

Video © & ℗, 2016, Blackground Media Unlimited

  • Part I
  • Part II
  • Part III
  • Part V

© 2002 – 2016, John Obeto for Blackground Media Unlimited

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4:06PM

Shiny New Logitech Things to Review

I have a trio of Logitech human input devices, or HIDs here at the Orbiting Dacha for review.

They are the Logitech K780 Multi-Device Keyboard, the Logitech M330 Silent Plus Mouse, and the Logitech M720 Triathlon Multi Device Mouse.

k780-multi-device-keyboard

logitech-m330-silent-plus

m720-triathlon-mouse

I have wanted to try the K780 Multi-device for a while. I have been a use of the Logitech K380 keyboard, and I like their multi-device keyboards as it allows me to just just one keyboard across multiple mobile/portable devices.

Likewise, the M720 is basically an MX Plus sans some functionality, and the silent Plus is just intriguing.

Let’s do this!

© 2002 – 2016, John Obeto for Blackground Media Unlimited

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8:00AM

The HP OfficeJet Pro 7740 Review

The HP OfficeJet Pro 7740 is the best, most capable inkjet printer we have tested.

By far. So far.

It is capable, speedy, easy to use, affordable in both capex and opex, and displays a gracious élan generally not seen in this space for a while.

It is a SmallBizWindows Superstar Product.

Let’s start from the beginning.

The HP OfficeJet Pro 7740 Wide-Format Printer
3A wide-format all-in-one, the OfficeJet Pro 7740 is one of the business inkjet devices created by HP’s vaunted Boise operation, formerly helmed by the renowned Vyomesh Joshi.

As one of the “Pro” line of HP OfficeJet printers, it is targeted squarely at businesses.

You can print, copy, scan, and fax.

Sadly, faxing documents is still a thing for several businesses, and is accepted over emailed documents!

According to published specs, it is supposed to be rather speedy, both for black-and-white, and color prints.

Let’s delve in.

Edwin_Catalog_Frt_w_Output_HR_v1_8bit

Unboxing and OOBE
The OfficeJet Pro 7740 came in a box that didn’t rattle when shaken at my location.

Seems trite or trivial, but I always do this, not only for review devices, but also for everything I order. For I believe that a snug fit generally means care had been given to packaging, with a resulting reduction in returned equipment.

I opened the box to a boxy, yet stylish printer, with little protrusions or protuberances spoiling the line. The design language here is sleek, smart, reminiscent of old HP LaserJet III and, – dare I say it? – the Apple LaserWriter printers from days gone by.

It came with a set of inks cartridges, a quick start guide, a power cable, and some safety info as required by the authorities.

Me being me, I opted to use the quick start guide. I plugged the device in, and we were on.

I inserted the ink cartridges when asked, entered the SSID of the network it would be connected to and voilà, I was good to go!

Internal Testing
The OfficeJet Pro 7740 was used as the primary printer here at the Orbiting Dacha for a week in place of a black-and-white laser printer.

I wanted to see if the users experienced delays, or felt a drop-off in the outputted b&W or grayscale documents.

I also used it to print out a very good number of color documents, from presentations, to slide decks, to full-color photographs. I also made a fair number of tabloid-sized prints.

The OfficeJet Pro 7740 performed impressively well.

Sadly, it was soon time to take it to a real-world environment for further testing.

HP OfficeJet Pro 7740 Wide Format All-in-One, Left facing, no output

AbsolutelyRealWorld Testing
The environment chosen for our real-world review was for a partner at a structural engineering firm.

This firm uses several high-end printers that output in large format. They also have a couple of individual large-format printers for their draughtspersons.

Fortuitously, the OfficeJet Pro 7740 was offered for review, and so it came in.

I unboxed the device, and plugged it in. I added some letter-sized paper into the printer, then demonstrated the HP Direct Print feature by asking my tester to print to it from her HP z620 workstation.

I tell ya: that brought smiles.

I then had it connected to their wired network, and properly configured for her.

The easy discoverability of the OfficeJet 7740, and indeed of all HP devices by Microsoft Windows is impressive.

It really is.

For the past three weeks, the printer was the deskside adjunct to the big printers and plan printers in use at that firm.

It was a success.

For one, the deskside production of tabloid-sized output meant that my tester could make changes on-the-fly for either her staff, or for consultation with her partners.

As with our use of the OfficeJet Pro 7740 at The Orbiting Dacha, they ran the printer through stress tests designed to max out the performance of the printer in order to determine the suitability of the OfficeJet Pro 7740 for their deskside output requirements. They also almost ran it in tabloid mode, as that was their preferred output format.

According to her, it eliminated the need for the distraction of walking across the office to the printer room for printed output.

Furthermore, being able to generate such clear output was definitely worth it.

The speed of the printer was another factor in their satisfaction with the printer.

Also, it fitted the ROI they are looking for in a deskside large-format printer.

Finally, it comfortably beat their current printers by a considerable margin.

HP OfficeJet Pro 7740 Wide Format All-in-One, Right facing, no output

The Review
OOBE
One of the very first things I look for in a device is the OOBE, or Out-Of-the-Box-Experience.

So many firms fall down on their faces right here.

HP is an outlier here. I am often able to use HP devices without worrying about device drivers because they just work right out of the box. This kind of experience breeds confidence that a device won’t let you down even in tough situations where internet access is problematic.

Secondly, and this was also the case with the OfficeJet Pro 250 Mobile Printer we tested a couple of months ago, the devices were automagically discovered by Windows and provisioned with a single click. For busy ROBOs or SOHOs, this is rather ideal. You also do not have to worry about the insecurity of having to load drivers from media which may have been compromised with slipstreamed malware, a definite nightmare in this day and age.

Installation
While HP’s instantaneous and simple instructions are nice, they hide the amount of backend work that makes for easy discoverability and provisioning.

Connecting to networks are dead easy, and the touchscreen user interface is intuitive, showing that careful thought had gone into that UI design.

I like that a lot.

Like I always say, this stuff is NOT rocket science. Make it simple, make it useful, and stay out of the way of your users.

They did.

In Use
The OfficeJet Pro 7740 is fast. In fact, the initial hiccup when it is receiving data to output is forgotten when multiple pages start briskly loading up in the output tray.

OfficeJet Pro 7740 is versatile. Having multiple document trays standard is very smart. Not even do my tester’s architect clients generate tabloid output at all times. However, the ability to generate such output ad hoc is an added boon for them. Adding to this versatility if the ability to print directly from non-Windows devices, such as iOS devices, such as the ubiquitous iPhones, and from iPads as well. I understand this can be done with Android devices. However, I am yet to meet up with an Android device at businesses we are affiliated with…..

It can also be secured with the use of HP JetAdvantage Private Print, which keeps prying eyes away from your stuff until you are physically at the printer, and direct it to print.

Scanning was a breeze. Both out testers locally and at the structural engineering firm were able to scan and copy a variety of odd-sized documents

Conclusions
3
Our tester’s firm was also selected for a reason: they already had both large enterprise devices there, and a couple of deskside devices we had tried and recommended.

However, one quote from our tester sums it up best: “This is the best printer we have had here. By far. It just works very well for my needs.”

There you have it.

Pitted against enterprise-class large-format color laser printers, and against other deskside large-format printer, the HP OfficeJet Pro 7740 not only prevailed, even as a newcomer, but kicked the other similar devices to the kerb.

It is well priced, and consumables are, both for an HP printer, and an inkjet, priced rather reasonably.

Plus, it looks good!

For this and the robust specs on this device, as seen here, it is the recipient of the SmallBizWindows

Superstar Award.

It is also an automatic entrant in both the SmallBizWindows Printer of the Year and Scanner of the Year categories.

OfficeJet 7740 HP20160620235

Some HP OfficeJet Pro 7740 Technical Specs (From HP.com)

  • 11 x 17 inch printing
  • Automatic two-sided printing, fast print speeds, and an auto document feeder help ease your day.
  • Print speed ISO: 21 ppm (black); 17 ppm (color)
  • Increase paper capacity to 500 sheets with the included second 250-sheet paper tray.
  • Tap & swipe the smartphone-style color touchscreen for timesaving shortcuts.
  • The 35-page ADF handles documents up to legal size (21.6 x 35.6 cm), so you finish duplex jobs quickly.
  • Print, scan, and copy in standout color on sizes up to 11 x 17 inches (A3), for bold documents and presentations at up to 50% less cost per page than color laser.
  • Fax up to 8.5 x 14 inches (21.6 x 35.6 cm).

© 2002 – 2016, John Obeto for Blackground Media Unlimited

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7:47AM

Symphony Innovate 2016: Lunch with David Gurle Part III

Presentation1Symphony Communications held their yearly Symphony Innovate confab last week in New York City.

I was there, and had the opportunity to sit at a private luncheon with David Gurle, founder and CEO of Symphony, and some other event attendees as guests.

The lunch rapidly turned into an impromptu Q&A session.

However, David was kind enough to graciously answer our questions.

My camera was at the ready, and I am bringing you a 5-part video series on the event.

This is Part III of the series, embedded below. Clicking on the link will take to you an ad hoc OneDrive folder from which the video will be streamed.

 

Video © & ℗, 2016, Blackground Media Unlimited

  • Part I
  • Part II
  • Part IV
  • Part V

© 2002 – 2016, John Obeto for Blackground Media Unlimited

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12:06PM

Shiny New Things: HP ProDesk 600 PC & HP Z22n 21 inch Display

As part of the HPE Proliant ML10 review, we have decided to see the test client with the hardcover novel-sized HP ProDesk 600 ‘desktop’ computer, coupled with an HP 22” monitor.

The ProDesk 600 is one of those devices you have to see to believe, especially if you remember, as I do, the old full-size AT personal computer cases from the days of yore.

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This is a midline system, with 8GB of RAM and a 256GB SSD.

The 22” display we have paired it with is an entry-level model, without any frills. Or without any that we know of, to be exact.c04866706

*HP. HPE. I’m finding it hard to keep track!

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11:50AM

The HPE Proliant Entry-Level Server Review Series

Focus, and sometimes, unrelenting focus, is a requirement for success for small businesses.

Small business owners have that focus, and more.

However, sometimes, a singular focus on what you do best blinds one to the ancillary components of that success, and has them subconsciously spending valuable time on the adjuncts to their businesses that help with their success.

Case in point is computing.

Over the course of my journeys into the World of the SMB Owner, I have chanced upon several owners who, by either neglecting the capital expenditures (capex), operating expenditures (opex), or the ungodly combination of both, for their computing infrastructure, either hinder the growth of their firms, or unknowingly end up spending more money on either personnel, or external services or technicians.

Thankfully, there is help.

Server-based computing alleviates the issues SMBs have with the above, and also the very real issues of data and intellectual property theft, user identification and authentication, [company] network access and control, device vetting, and more.

HPE Proliants to the rescue
HPE has the Proliant line of servers, spanning from towers to rackmounts, all the way to blades, including SuperDome X!

The entry-level tower servers will be the focus of this blog series.

The specific entry level servers will be the HPE Proliant ML10, the Proliant ML30, and the Proliant ML150.

Over the next several months, I will bring you a series of articles of the use of these servers in real world situation where the use of the specific server model in use in that scenario hopefully positively impacts the firm.

We are also engaging with the fine folks running the HPE Flex Solutions team, explained here, to being you their takes on best-of-breed solutions for the chosen scenarios.

HPE Flex Solutions
As you know, Flex Solutions were derived by HPE to speed up go-go-market situations for VARs and solution providers. By using them here, we will show how those recommendations and bundles actually do so in real-world scenarios.

We are starting this series with the HPE Proliant ML10 Server.

HPE Proliant ML10 Server
The HPE Proliant ML10 server is a tower server which comes in what is now akin to what was known as the mini-ATX form factor.

It is priced for the very small of small businesses, and is expandable for that space. It has 6 internal hard drive bays, is equipped with Intel Xeon CPUs, multiple USB 3.0 and 2.0 ports, and up to 8GB of RAM.

We have chosen a firm to run a capability and functionality scenario against.

Subsequent blog posts will reveal the test scenario, and more details.

HPE Proliant ML30 & Proliant ML150
Our review regimen for the afore-mentioned servers will commence once we identify, and validate firms that fit into the target space for them.

© 2002 – 2016, John Obeto for Blackground Media Unlimited

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6:04AM

Shiny new thing to review: HPE Proliant ML10 Gen9 Server

838124-425We have received a shiny new HPE Proliant ML10 Server for review at AbsolutelyWindows.

This server will be a part of our upcoming in-depth look at HPE’s entry-level servers, announced here, and to be expanded on here.

While diminutive, this server seems ready for business. It it outfitted with a 3.30 GHz Intel Xeon E3-1225, 8 GB of RAM, and dual 2TB hard drives.

The box also comes with a 1 Gb embedded NIC, 6 USB ports – 4 USB 3.0, and surprisingly for its low price, a pair of DisplayPort ports.

The box has been here for over three weeks, and I have commenced setting it up for the review regimen slated for it.

Please stay tuned.

© 2002 – 2016, John Obeto for Blackground Media Unlimited

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4:27AM

Shiny new thing: Dell XPS 15

A shiny new Dell XPS 15 laptop is now in full effect at The Orbiting Dacha.

This is the newest version of our 2016 SmallBizWindows Product of the Year.

dell_XPS_67

Unlike the tested product back then, this device has the latest available Intel i7, a 500 GB SSD, and…tada..the pièce de résistance…that beauuutiful touchscreen 4K InfinityEdge display.

I have decided to take personal charge of the long term review for this baby.

People note: these are the sacrifices I make. For you.

© 2002 – 2016, John Obeto for Blackground Media Unlimited

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4:23PM

Shiny New Thing to review: Epson Home Cinema 5040UB 3D Projector

We have here the Epson PowerLite Home Cinema 5040UB 3LCD projector for review.

This is a wireless 3D projector with both 1080p resolution, and HDR compatibility.

300Wx300H

It is taking the place of our trusty Epson PowerLite Home Cinema 3500 3D projector for the next several weeks before emplacement at a final location.

Selected review media include the entire Star Wars saga, among others.

I shall keep you informed.

© 2002 – 2016, John Obeto for Blackground Media Unlimited

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9:19AM

Photo Album: the Social Compass Influencer Breakfast at Dell EMC World 2016

There was an influencer breakfast at Dell EMC World.

image001

It was rather cool, with Dell staffers trying to get attendees to familiarize themselves with the lay of the land that is the Austin Convention Center.

Event photographs were taken, and the event tchotchke was…tada…a compass, of which #2 Son was the recipient*. Now, it name of this gathering made even more sense.

IMG_x0346

Dell EMC World 2016

Dell EMC World 2016

Dell EMC World 2016

Dell EMC World 2016

Dell EMC World 2016

*He immediately wanted to go off into the greenbelt behind the Orbiting Dacha to try it out!

© 2002 – 2016, John Obeto for Blackground Media Unlimited

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4:43AM

Symphony Innovate 2016: Lunch with David Gurle Part II

Presentation1Symphony Communications held their yearly Symphony Innovate confab last week in New York City.

I was there, and had the opportunity to sit at a private luncheon with David Gurle, founder and CEO of Symphony, and some other event attendees as guests.

The lunch rapidly turned into an impromptu Q&A session.

However, David was kind enough to graciously answer our questions.

My camera was at the ready, and I am bringing you a 5-part video series on the event.

This is Part II of the series, which is embedded below, Clicking on the link will take to you an ad hoc OneDrive folder from which the video will be streamed.

 

Video © & ℗, 2016, Blackground Media Unlimited

  • Part I
  • Part III
  • Part IV
  • Part V

© 2002 – 2016, John Obeto for Blackground Media Unlimited

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12:16AM

Symphony Innovate 2016: Lunch with David Gurle Part I

Presentation1Symphony Communications held their yearly Symphony Innovate confab last week in New York City.

I was there, and had the opportunity to sit at a private luncheon with David Gurle, founder and CEO of Symphony, and some other event attendees as guests.

The lunch rapidly turned into an impromptu Q&A session.

However, David was kind enough to graciously answer our questions.

My camera was at the ready, and I am bringing you a 5-part video series on the event.

Part 1 of this series is embedded below, and will take to you an ad hoc OneDrive folder from which the video will be streamed.

 

Video © & ℗, 2016, Blackground Media Unlimited

  • Part II
  • Part III
  • Part IV
  • Part V

© 2002 – 2016, John Obeto for Blackground Media Unlimited

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