Michael B. Calyn
Michael B. Calyn Network Consultant/Level 2/3 Deskside Support MBCalyn@MBCalyn.com Summary Information Services & Technology Professional Certified Microsoft, Cisco, Novell, Toshiba, Fujitsu, Dell, IBM, Lenovo, and A Specialties A diverse technical background. Strong logical analysis and troubleshooting experience. Ability to assimilate new technologies quickly and accurately. A great "bedside manner" in a front line support role. A knack for explaining technical issues in lay persons terms.
How BlackBerry is riding iOS and Android to power its comeback
The very factor that decimated BlackBerry over the past five years is now becoming one of the most important catalysts in its turnaround.
While a fresh new generation of BlackBerry phones fight a ferocious battle for third place in the smartphone race, BlackBerry’s other big business remains in a great position in its red-hot market, Mobile Device Management (MDM). At BlackBerry Live 2013 in Orlando this week, the company rolled out a major update to BlackBerry Enterprise Service (BES) and deepened its commitment to making BES a multiplatform solution that now deeply secures its two leading smartphone competitors.
Ironically, the trend that brutally undercut BlackBerry phones during the past five years—the ”bring your own device” (BYOD) movement—is now driving significant sales of BES, the company’s backend software. At BlackBerry Live, the company released version 10.1 of BES. BES 10.1 will support a powerful new module that will launch at the end of June called Secure Work Space, which brings BlackBerry’s high security mobile solution to Android and iOS.
“Our customers have been asking, ‘Can you just take what you’ve done on BlackBerry and put it on iOS and Android?’” said Pete Devenyi, BlackBerry’s SVP of Enterprise Software.
While older versions of BES could do some basic administration of non-BlackBerry smartphones like iPhone, Android, and other types of devices, the solution was limited to the basics, including a full remote wipe of devices when those employees left the company. But, that’s obviously not a great solution with BYOD where employees own the devices. With Secure Work Space, BlackBerry will manage iOS and Android devices in a much more sophisticated and secure way.
Part of that is due to the fact that BES 10 not only does mobile device management, but also does mobile application management, and secure mobile connectivity as well. This triple play raises the bar on manageability. One of the key factors that makes all of this happen in BES 10 is a module called BlackBerry Balance that cleanly separates work and personal data and applications. For example, you can’t copy and paste between work and personal data and in a BYOD situation where an employee leaves the company and IT needs to wipe the business data off the device then it can wipe the work side of the phone without affecting the former employee’s personal data.
However, BlackBerry Balance is limited to BlackBerry devices because they are designed from the ground up to function this way and to adhere to this security model. Because of that, BlackBerry can’t bring Balance to Android and iOS because those operating systems are simply architected differently. But, BlackBerry is doing the next best thing by bringing a lot of these same features to iOS and Android with Secure Work Space.
“With Secure Work Space, it really is a secure container,” said Devenyi.
Image: Jason Hiner
Secure Work Space will be an app in the Apple App Store and Google Play, pending approval from Apple and Google, respectively. It will include secure email, calendar, contacts, tasks, and document editing. It won’t allow data leakage including copy and paste between Secure Work Space and the rest of the device. IT will be able to remotely wipe everything in the Secure Work Space without affecting any of the other apps or data on the person’s device, in a BYOD scenario.
“It really is about the separation of work data and personal data,” Devenyi said. ”It supports a BYOD model much more directly.”
Another thing that Secure Work Space does is to create a fully encrypted tunnel back to the BES 10 server so that all communications from it are secure, even if you’re on an insecure connection such as an Internet cafe or public Wi-Fi. In the past, you’d typically need to launch a VPN tunnel in order to accomplish that, but Secure Work Space does it automatically and at all times.
Devenyi said, “There’s no need for a VPN. It’s a [continually] secure outbound port”
The combination of secure data and apps and a secure connection turns BYOD Android and iOS smartphones and tablets into highly secure business devices. That’s what BlackBerry is bringing to market at the end of Q2, built on top of BES 10.1.
“For the first time, a solution on Android and iOS can benefit and take advantage of the BlackBerry infrastructure and BlackBerry security model,” said Devenyi.
BlackBerry does not split out BES revenue from its revenue from smartphones, but clearly it’s a much more attractive business than the commodity mobile hardware business. And, Devenyi said that BlackBerry is seeing “exploding” demand for MDM solutions to manage BYOD.
In its latest analysis of the MDM market, Gartner corroborated that perspective saying, “MDM is the fastest-growing enterprise mobile software ever (in terms of number of suppliers, revenue growth and interest from Gartner clients).”
That growth is fueling a crowd of companies to jump into MDM, but BlackBerry is one of the creators of the category and one of the most trusted names in mobile security. The fact that many of the companies that need MDM for BYOD have previously relied on BlackBerry and BES to manage their mobile devices provides the company with an excellent opportunity to become a market leader in securing for iOS and Android for BYOD. The irony is obvious, but don’t underestimate how much this could potentially fuel BlackBerry’s comeback, no matter what BlackBerry devices do.
Opportunity Breaks NASA’s 40-Year Roving Record
MAY 16, 2013 09:14 PM ET // BY IAN O’NEILL
After nine years of hard Mars roving, Mars Exploration Rover (MER) Opportunity has broken a 40-year-old extraterrestrial distance record.
On Thursday, the tenacious six-wheeled robot drove 80 meters (263 feet), nudging the total distance traveled since landing on the red planet in 2004 to 35.760 kilometers (22.220 miles). NASA’s previous distance record was held by Apollo 17 astronauts Eugene Cernan and Harrison Schmitt when, in December 1972, they drove their Lunar Roving Vehicle 35.744 kilometers (22.210 miles) over the lunar surface.
“The record we established with a roving vehicle was made to be broken, and I’m excited and proud to be able to pass the torch to Opportunity,” Cernan told Jim Rice of NASA Goddard Space Flight Center and Opportunity team member in a conversation about the possibility of the rover exceeding the 40-year-old record a few days ago.
Opportunity may be NASA’s record-breaking hot-rod, but it has a few hundred meters left to go before it smashes the international extraterrestrial land-distance record.
In 1973, the Soviet Union’s Lunokhod 2 remote-controlled moon rover roved 37 kilometers (23 miles) across the lunar surface and, so far, remains the undisputed champion of distance driving on an extraterrestrial surface.
But Opportunity is nearly there. Until recently, the NASA rover has been investigating the “Cape York” area of Endeavour Crater’s rim at Meridiani Planum. It is currently en route to a new location called “Solander Point,” 2.2 kilometers (1.4 miles) away, so we can expect the international roving record to be smashed within weeks.
Sadly, Opportunity’s sister rover Spirit wasn’t the distance-runner like her sibling. Spirit, although still a highly successful rover mission, conked out at a respectable 7.7 kilometers (4.8 miles) after becoming stuck in a sand trap in Gusev Crater. Spirit was declared lost in 2010. Both rovers have surpassed all expectations, considering their primary mission was only supposed to last three months.
How Far Has Opportunity Really Traveled?
In July 2012, shortly before the exciting landing of NASA’s newest and most sophisticated rover, Curiosity, inside Gale Crater, the MER team wanted to point out that their veteran rover hadalmost rolled a marathon. It still hasn’t quite reached the magic 26.2 mile mark (the official distance of a marathon), I thought it interesting to compare Opportunity’s odometer with some other, more familiar distances.
So, in honor of Opportunity holding the NASA distance record, here are those distances, updated:
Opportunity has traveled…
…almost nine laps of the Daytona Motor Speedway NASCAR track (one lap = 2.5 miles)
…178 furlongs. Which is nearly five-times the distance a horse will run during the British Grand National.
…four-times the distance an active basketball player will run during a game.
…from the coast of South England to the coast of France across the Strait of Dover (21 miles), plus a short detour for a croissant.
…from my house to Hollywood (the scenic route — avoiding the 101 freeway).
Image: On the 3,309th Martian day, or sol, of its mission on Mars (May 15, 2013) NASA’s Mars Exploration Rover Opportunity drove 263 feet (80 meters) southward along the western rim of Endeavour Crater. Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech
Amtrak Upgrades Wi-Fi Service on Trains
Luke Sharrett for The New York Times
Steven Jackson using Amtrak’s Wi-Fi service on a Boston-bound train last year. The service has drawn technology jokes, and praise, from passengers.
By RON NIXON
Published: May 16, 2013
WASHINGTON — After years of criticism of the wireless service on its trains, Amtrak announced on Thursday that it had upgraded its cellular-based Wi-Fi using broadband technologies that will improve the speed and reliability of the Internet in its passenger cars.
Amtrak’s Wi-Fi has been the target of technology jokes since the railroad introduced the service, with some passengers comparing it to dial-up services like America Online or Prodigy. But others have praised the service, saying it allows them to be productive while traveling between cities, unlike airline travel. Because of the technical difficulties of maintaining a strong Internet connection on a moving train, the increase in speed would still be less than most people experience at home.
The railroad said the broadband upgrade was complete on the high-speed Acela trains that travel the more than 400 miles between Washington and Boston. Several state-supported routes in California, including the Capitol Corridor, Pacific Surfliner and San Joaquin routes, have also been upgraded.
Amtrak said it would roll out the upgrades to all remaining Amtrak trains equipped with Wi-Fi, including the Northeast Regional, by late summer.
“We continue to place a strong focus on improving customer satisfaction, and this upgrade is delivering the improved speeds and connectivity required to maintain a competitive edge,” Deborah Stone-Wulf, Amtrak’s chief of sales distribution and customer service, said in a statement.
Amtrak said Acela passengers have already noticed an improvement in the Wi-Fi service aboard the trains and have been commenting through social media.
But not all the social media chatter has been positive.
Shelton Mercer, chief executive of TwitChange, an Atlanta-based Web site that brings celebrities and fans together for good causes, wrote on Twitter last month, “#Amtrak ‘Wi-fi’ should be renamed ‘Why-Try.’ ”
Amtrak responded to some negative Twitter posts, saying the upgrades would strengthen its Wi-Fi network and increase the amount of bandwidth available for tech-savvy passengers who have become accustomed to being connected while traveling.
Sara Wachter-Boettcher, an author and Web consultant in Lancaster, Pa., called the service an infuriating luxury. On a recent trip home from teaching a workshop in New York, she said, she was desperately trying to catch up on e-mail. But the Wi-Fi on the train booted her off every few minutes, she said, and she had to resort to a combination of her smartphone and laptop to keep working.
“On the one hand, we’re lucky to have such pervasive Internet access,” she said in an e-mail. “On the other, it’s frustrating anytime something that should work doesn’t.”
Unlike most airlines, Amtrak said it would continue to provide free Wi-Fi service. The railroad said that Wi-Fi was available on trains that serve 75 percent of Amtrak passengers, and that it routinely supported 30 percent to 50 percent of passengers on a given train.
But Amtrak also said it would continue to limit some Internet activities.
To ensure that all passengers have an opportunity to use the Wi-Fi service, Amtrak said, it would still restrict data-heavy activities that could slow the service down, like streaming video sites like Netflix and music sites like Pandora. The railroad also restricts file downloads larger than 10MB.
Even with the upgrades, Amtrak will continue to face some challenges with its wireless service. High-speed service is not available everywhere, and because the railroad uses different carriers along its routes, including Verizon and AT&T, service could still be interrupted or slowed as the Wi-Fi signals switch between the carriers. In addition, as the speed of the service increases, so will the number of people trying to use it, potentially slowing it down.
Still, Amtrak seems confident that passengers will have a better Internet experience aboard its trains. In a news release announcing the upgrades, the railroad suggested the following Twitter post: “Productivity on @Amtrak #Acela just got better. Their onboard #Wi-Fi is now powered by 4G technology.”
- Is Amtrak’s new Wi-Fi upgrade really going to work? (bizjournals.com)
- Amtrak’s WiFi Upgrade Allows More People to Complain About Amtrak WiFi (theatlanticwire.com)
- Amtrak Upgrades Wi-Fi (mobile.slashdot.org)
- Amtrak Upgrading W-iFi Service on Its Trains, Acela Trains Already Enjoying Speed Boost (hothardware.com)
- Amtrak Faces Money Shortfall (stlouis.cbslocal.com)
- Amtrak unveils new, efficient locomotives (smartplanet.com)
- Wichita’s Amtrak supporters plan announcement Friday (bizjournals.com)
- Amtrak Gets Siemens Locomotive to Serve U.S. Northeast – Bloomberg (bloomberg.com)
- Friday Reading: Marathon Training, Minus the Long Run (bucks.blogs.nytimes.com)
- Amtrak train headed to Milwaukee strikes car in Mount Pleasant (fox6now.com)