Series: 5 Tips for Software Developers (Part 3)

Jack Wilson, Laplink Software’s Chief Technology Officer, has 30 years of experience in a wide variety of software development projects and is a seasoned software developer. In the final post of this 3-part series, Jack expounds on his last two tips for software developers he would give to interested parties applying to work on his team.

TIP 4: Beware of getting “stuck” in one area

It’s certainly not bad being an “expert” in something, but if that’s all you know and that technology goes away–then what? I remember working on a long term Air Defense system that was mainly written in FORTRAN. The project got cancelled and all of us had to find new positions. The work I was doing was written in ‘C’ and on embedded processors. I had no problem finding a new position. The mainframe FORTRAN guys were not so lucky.

I am also probably one of maybe a handful of people who can say they helped write implementations of DecNet, Netware, and TCP/IP for embedded systems. (Right now, there is one gray-haired guy in a ponytail someplace reading this who is thinking “Cool dude” and the rest have no idea what I’m talking about.) But that brings up a point, besides new advances in hardware and technology, there are tons of things that have also gone obsolete. Ever see a punch card? What happened to all those AOL floppy disks that used to come in the mail? Engineers don’t often think about that.

TIP 5: Make your hobby your job.

The last thing you want to do is wake up in the morning thinking, “I don’t want to go to work.” The best job is the one where you can’t sleep at night because you want to get back at it. However, don’t become so obsessed that life passes you by. Stop worrying about money.

That concludes our series of tips for software developers! If you have anything you’d like to add, leave a comment on Laplink Software’s Facebook page!

Series: 5 Tips for Software Developers (Part 2)

Jack Wilson, Laplink Software’s Chief Technology Officer, has 30 years of experience in a wide variety of software development projects and is a seasoned software developer. He has extensive experience developing network devices and network-enabled applications. Jack’s professional skills were honed at leading companies, including Networks Northwest Inc., Boeing Defense and Space Group, and Westinghouse.

As the manager for the tech department at Laplink, Jack expounds on his 5 tips for software developers he would give to interested parties applying to work on his team. This is the second post of the series, so stay tuned for the last post.

TIP 2: Always think about what will make something better.

If you come up with something and you find out someone has already done it, then see if you can do it better. If no one has, then do it! There have been many companies that were started by someone who just found a better way of doing something, and they were the ones to succeed. The most fun I ever had in my career was working at a small startup; I was the fifth employee. We worked hard and created a great product. Unfortunately, we were unable to get our costs down to a competitive level and so the company ultimately failed. However, even though the company didn’t succeed, it was still a great time and a really great learning experience.

Having tunnel vision in your field can be debilitating for your future as a software developer. It’s always important to stay abreast of your competitive landscape from a product perspective. Because you want to make sure that your product is better than everyone else’s. Communicate regularly with your team’s project manager to better understand what your competition is doing, and see if you can’t make it better.

TIP 3: Software is not only limited to the PC, Mac, or tablet.

Software is now in everything and will keep growing immensely. Another misconception is that everything has a screen; more and more, screenless devices are part of the Internet of Things. My advice is to learn to do embedded software; it can be a real challenge. Pick up a Raspberry Pi or Arduino and play with it for a while just to see what you can learn. It will help you when you’re applying for software developer and programmer jobs.

But be wary whatever the new fad is. Engineers love to play with whatever is the new thing, which is okay as long as it is the right solution for the job. Otherwise, you are wasting time and money for your company, yourself.

Stay tuned for the final post in this series!

Series: 5 Tips for Software Developers

With the rapid evolution of technology, the demand for software developers and engineers is growing. Software has woven itself tightly into daily lives; programmers and developers have almost guaranteed job security.

The job outlook for software developers in 2012, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, is growing at a rate of 22%: faster than the average career. With an undergrad degree and computer programming skills, college grads are hired out of school earning a much higher starting salary than almost any other profession that does not require more than a BA.

But while this is an exciting time to study software development, young graduates and newcomers to the industry might lose sight of their goals, or get lost in the shiny haze of new opportunities that are coming at them as fast as technology is changing.

Jack Wilson, Laplink Software’s Chief Technology Officer, has 30 years of experience in a wide variety of software development projects from radar and air defense systems to commercial software. He is a seasoned software developer and has extensive experience developing network devices and network-enabled applications. Jack’s professional skills were honed at leading companies, including Networks Northwest Inc., Boeing Defense and Space Group, and Westinghouse.

As the manager for the tech department at Laplink, Jack expounds on his 5 tips for software developers he would give to interested parties applying to work on his team. This series will be broken into 3 posts, so stay tuned for the next two posts, also.

TIP 1: Don’t just get into something just because it’s the “in” thing.

Get into something that you can be truly passionate about. In the late 1990’s everyone who could spell “www” got jobs creating web pages. By 2001 most of them lost their jobs, except those who were passionate. They became even better. Something that has vastly advanced in the last 20 years is the Internet. I remember telling one of my engineers back in the early 1990s to go get this Mozilla browser thing and look into what this World Wide Web “thing” was all about. In those days, smaller companies had networks running Novell Netware. The really big companies networks ran Digital’s DecNet on mainframes. (Those networks don’t even exist anymore.) Companies connected offices to each other using state-of-the-art “modems” sending about 300 bits per second.

To give you an idea of how slow that is by current standards, my home Internet today is connected at 50 Mega-bits per second: it is 166,666 times faster than what we used in the nineties, and I still complain that the Internet is slow!

Tips for Transferring Files to Windows 10

Moving to a new PC is quite a challenge as Windows 10 has no tools to accomplish this task. For many users, getting their data files such as photos, videos, music, email, contacts, spreadsheets, documents, etc. to their new PC is a major concern and may even result in the delay of purchasing a new PC.

There are four basic options a user can choose from to move data files to a new PC:

1. Upload files from the old PC to cloud storage (Google Drive, OneDrive, Dropbox, etc.) Now the user can easily access these files from anywhere and download the files to their new PC. But if the user has a lot of data, the upload will take a very long time – and, their data might exceed available storage.
2. Transfer using a USB stick or external hard drive.
3. Transfer across a network user Explorer by sharing the old hard drive to the new PC.
4. Use a file transfer utility.

The key problem to all of the above options is that the user must know what they desire to transfer, must know where the data is located on the old PC, and must manage the process. The secondary problem is that there’s a good chance the user really wants more than just data files which they might not realize. A typical user will miss quite a bit of data – perhaps they leave behind their Outlook data, files they accidentally saved in an unusual location, data related to a specific application that was saved in the application’s folder (such as tax files), Internet favorites, shortcuts, and much more.

Laplink offers a better option. PCmover Professional is the only software that can selectively move programs, files and settings from an old Windows PC to a new PC. It’s fast, easy, and powerful.

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  • Simply install PCmover on both of the computers and follow the simple wizard to transfer everything desired to the new PC.
  • Users don’t need to know where the location of their files; PCmover knows and will find and transfer all files a user wants regardless of where they were saved.
  • PCmover transfers more than just data files. It also automatically transfers all selected programs and settings. And programs are transferred ready to use on the new PC so a user doesn’t need to reinstall them or find old CDs or license keys.
  • PCmover transfers using any home or business network (wired or wireless) or using a direct-connect (Laplink High Speed Transfer Cable.
  • Once a user completes the short wizard, they walk away and PCmover does the rest.
  • Laplink also provides free 24/7 transfer assistance from certified PC migration experts who will guide the user through the transfer over the phone or by remote control.
  • Laplink also offers PCmover Enterprise which leverages the PCmover technology to allows IT departments to easily set up and manage controlled PC deployment projects for one thousand to hundreds of thousands of PCs. Organizations using PCmover Enterprise typically save over $300 per PC deployed by reducing deployment labor, post-migration support and help desk calls, as well as user down time – and end user satisfaction is higher.
  • If a user is certain they only want to copy data files, Laplink Sync is an easy and powerful solution that will transfer files between PCs, Macs, Android and iOS devices utilizing a 3-step wizard. Files are transferred directly between devices to protect privacy (i.e., no copies exist in cloud storage). Laplink Sync can be used to transfer files or to keep files synchronized between devices.

It’s Time to Buy a New PC

Making history, Microsoft released its first hardware device worthy of competing in the marketplace. The Surface Book is a 13.5-inch laptop with “a killer display, maxed-out guts, a funky cool hinge, and a display that detaches to become a thick, powerful tablet” (source.) It’s also $1,500, which is on par with Apple’s Macbook laptop series.

New and exciting laptops and convertibles (laptop/tablet) are announced everyday from major hardware manufacturers like HP, Dell, Toshiba or Lenovo. But with Microsoft’s announcement of their new hardware devices on October 6th, even critics were cheering.

With the new Windows 10 available on these new devices, it is officially the time to retire your old hardware; there has never been a better time to buy a new device. Whatever you buy, remember that Laplink’s PCmover will save your day by making a migration of your old Windows PC’s documents, folders, pictures, music, videos, user profiles, thousands of settings, and programs (applications) easy to move. PCmover automates a tedious, manual process, making it painless.PCmover-Professional-Left-New

It’s time to buy a new PC, and when you do,be sure to buy PCmover Professional with it!

Microsoft’s Windows 10 Reaches Milestone

Microsoft’s Windows 10 reaches its milestone. It only took 10 weeks for Microsoft’s newest operating system, Windows 10, to get installed on 110 million devices (source).

Windows’ boss, Terry Meyerson, revealed the following:

  • Users have asked 1 billion questions to Windows 10’s new Siri-like digital assistant, Cortana
  • Users have visited the Windows 10 app store 1 billion times
  • Facebook is developing new Facebook, Instagram, and Messenger dedicated apps for Windows 10.

What does this mean for home PC users and small businesses with old Windows operating systems on their PCs? They need to upgrade their operating system and/or hardware to the newest system in case they get left behind on old technology.

This “keep up with the technology” trend seems to be the new norm among software giants. Take for example Apple’s iOS software. Apple continues to offer updates on their mobile devices. Despite the hardware being only a year or so old, the newest operating system available now runs slower and worst of all, doesn’t feature the full range of capabilities one would experience by purchasing and upgrading to the newest hardware and software.

This is the new norm. To make this process of upgrading to Windows 10 a stress-free experience for users moving their stuff from an old PC to a newer one (or the new OS) Laplink offers PCmover Professional software.

This software is designed to work with any older version of Windows operating systems, including XP, Vista, 7, 8 and 8.1. By installing PCmover on an old Windows PC, users can follow an easy, step-by-step “wizard” interface that guides them through selecting the many files, thousands of personalized PC settings, user profiles, and even the applications (programs) installed on your PC that you want to move over to your new Windows 10 PC. Rather than manually searching through a massive PC directory, and dragging and dropping photo, music, and video folders–PCmover searches and finds those files immediately, and moves them over to your new PC over a network or high-speed transfer cable.

The best part about PCmover Professional software is that it moves your applications–like the Microsoft Office Suite. Imagine tracking down your old serial numbers, installation CDs (if your new computer even has a CD-rom slot), or searching and downloading applications from the Internet all over again. It’d take you hours! And the savings you experience by transferring those already purchased applications to your new PC is considerable: you don’t have to re-purchase those apps!

PCmover also works to migrate everything important that is on your PC to your new operating system if all you are doing is an in-place upgrade (i.e. updating your operating system without replacing the actual computer you are using.) The best way to understand how PCmover software makes this process simple for you is by watching this video we made. 

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If you’re interested in PCmover Professional, you can buy a copy from Laplink here.

Windows 10 Impact on IT Departments: Part III

We have broken down the most common complaints and the mistakes organizations are making that result in unexpected costs.

  1. Many organizations underestimate the time end users spend to become familiarized with their new PC system, as well as problems with migrating existing user data, and settings recovery. This time can easily exceed three to four hours. These soft costs are often not part of IT budgets, but are of great concern for business owners experiencing employee-productivity drops.
  2. End user customizations are frequently not considered in the overall plan. Customization are mostly left for the employee to complete on company time. Customizations like reapplying and creating settings for the new desktop can be beyond a normal users’ comprehension, leading to a surge in PC helpdesk requests with associated cost of $50 or more per call.
  3. The third mistake is underestimating the logistics associated with PC migrations for users in remote locations and international subsidiaries, which can prove to be extremely difficult. The need to outsource to a contractor or flying a staff member to a site, causes deployment issues and costs to rise quickly.
  4. The fourth, and final, mistake occurs inadvertently when data and settings are left behind. In a recent study conducted with enterprise level IT departments, the results were troubling: 27% of respondents who used various tools for transferring data and settings reported data loss in the process.

Windows 10 will cause businesses and IT teams to increasingly respect the fact that end user computing is changing. What is happening in the OS market is comparable to the BYOD revolution that saw the number and variety of devices on the corporate network sky rocket. This has and still is raises a number of challenges in terms of control and management.

The PC, tablets, and other devices have evolved into very powerful systems. Because today, we have dozens of vital applications, several gigabytes of data, and thousands of settings in the Windows registry, reestablishing all that on a new PC is time-consuming and near impossible to streamlined for a company.

With new PC deployments on the forefront of many IT teams tasks, issues surrounding the fact that there are few tools at the enterprise level to successfully complete this endeavor. Proven solutions like PCmover® Enterprise are not always known within many IT Organizations.

PCmover Enterprise

Organizations need a solution with minimal interruption to employees’ productivity, save time and resources, and will seamlessly migrate files, folders, and applications vital to each employee’s daily workflow. An IT professional at one of the largest PC manufacturers once stated: “We are supporting thousands of large organizations to deploy their PCs. We do everything from logistics, imaging, tagging, and bringing the PC to the workplace. We do not, however, have a solution for the actual migration between two desktops.”

Windows 10 Impact on IT Departments: Part I

Microsoft’s first glimpse of Windows 10 suggests many areas which may impact IT departments in the future. A recent survey found that 80% of large enterprises and 71% of businesses plan to migrate to the new OS in the next 18 months, suggesting that it will be even more popular than Windows 7, which still commands a very large market share, particularly in enterprises.

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Better usability via new, advanced Start Menu, better windows and desktop management (e.g. task viewer), seamless integration (windowing) of new “metro” apps, and so on.Microsoft has made it also very clear that a major focus of Windows 10 is the business users:

  • Better/faster/more secure browsing experience (Edge)
  • Cross device familiarity and universal apps – this is very important for larger organizations. The ability to run and manage different form-factors with the same OS will accelerate mobile adoption in enterprise
  • Enterprise apps can be built “once” and deployed (optimized) for all devices (although it is not that easy) – all supported via a central, unified App Store.
  • Extended Mobile management
  • Voice Recognition – Smart Assistance: Cortana can be a change agent of how consumer interact with the desktop PC. Voice recognitions and machine learning will enable new and innovative scenarios
  • Lowering Cost of ownership
  • Security improvements / Support of two factor authentication

Windows 10 promises to deliver advanced security and management capabilities along with ongoing innovation and security updates for businesses of all sizes. These new capabilities will deliver a host of benefits to organizations, enabling them to make key enhancements across their IT landscape and maximize ROI.

5 improvements in new Windows 10 OS

Windows 10, Microsoft’s newest operating system, released July 29.

Here are 5 reasons to upgrade to Windows 10:

1. Faster and more interactive command center

The Action Center is a central place to view alerts and take actions that can help keep Windows running smoothly. Windows Action Center in Windows 10 will be redone and receive a face lift to fit the new metro theme. The Windows explorer has also been updated in the new operating system: now, when you are searching for a file, it is much faster and responsive than before.

2. Work flow improvements

In Windows 10, users have the ability to create multiple desktops with one screen. It will be a helpful tool for those who work for hours with one large screen. Instead of splitting your screen into two squished windows, you can run each window side by side at a normal window ratio without it getting scaled down. It stays proportional.

 3. Cross system compatibility 

Universal apps will allow the consumer to be able to work and play on their Xbox, phone, PC, or tablet devices with the same software, if it is compatible. This allows easier access to popular applications. While “out and about” you can continue what you were doing earlier, without having to convert any files to another operating system.

4. Internet Explorer is replaced

The new “Edge” browser will allow those who are on mobile or tablet devices, or those who just prefer the metro app, to have a more lite version of Internet that is faster. Edge is quicker, but doesn’t serve all of the plug-ins that Internet Explorer (11) does.

 

 

 

 

 

 

5. It’s FREE!

There are no downsides to installing Windows 10 from a Windows 7 or 8 operating system. Windows 10 will be a product that is a clear upgrade from the other Windows OS’s, and will be worth the upgrade for the enhanced user experience.

After Windows 10, users won’t pay for updates or upgrades, which means once you upgrade this one time, you will be done paying for your operating system upgrades until Microsoft changes its own outlook.

“If Microsoft wants consumers to update, it really means that Microsoft is going to have to give those consumers those updates for free. There’s really no other way to do it,” said Michael Silver of Gartner at the research firm’s annual technology conference.

Have you purchased Windows 10? What do you think of it? Share in the comments. 

PCmover as a Solution

Laplink’s PCmover software is the ideal solution for completing data transfers PC to PC, from a hard drive or image to a new PC, and for completing an in-place upgrade to a newer operating system. In this post, we will detail some common questions around PC data migration, and explain how using PCmover Professional as a solution is the best plan for your home or business’s PC deployment scenario.

Question 1: How important is user-friendliness in a solution like this?

  • PCmover is very user-friendly. The Pro version comes with an easy to follow setup wizard that guides users through the process of performing the migration. It allows all choices of what to transfer to the new PC (files, settings, user profiles, and even applications.)  It is built in a way so that even novice users can easily walk through the process of transferring their data from an older Windows PC to a new one.
  • Some users struggle with the PC to PC connectivity and get confused by networks, firewalls, etc. Laplink offers 24/7 Free Transfer Assistance with a trained professional technician who can help users through any questions they might have, and even remotely complete the migration.
  • Business, government or enterprise customers have different needs in a data migration. Laplink provides a fully customizable version – PCmover Enterprise – that allows IT admins to create a light or no touch migration. It can be executed by users or untrained technicians out of the box. The customization is very straightforward and no development skills are needed.

Question 2: How big will the impact of the Windows 10 upgrade be for businesses?

  • Win 10 will become the new OS of choice replacing Windows 7. Since many business customer did not want to deploy Windows 8/8.1, they have waited with refresh projects and I believe that the adoption curve will be much higher with Win10 than experienced before. Business might not wait for 12 months this time around. We are working with many enterprise which are ready to switch once Windows 10 is released.
  • There are a lot of business benefits for jumping to Windows 10 (read more here.)

Question 3: What are some of the stumbling blocks businesses face when dealing with PC to PC transfers, or other migration issues?

  • Business have refresh projects very much under control except for the transfer of data, settings, and applications from the old PCs to new ones. Often users are left alone to perform that task themselves, leading to a dramatic increase in the costs (often soft costs unseen from the IT department) for customizing the new PC. These costs come in the form of end-user downtime, help desk support calls, data loss, etc.
  • Automated scripts to move data are insufficient to do the job. In a recent study online, it was proven that many companies complained about data loss, since technicians did not know where all of the PC’s data was stored on the machine (beyond the document folder) and users often do not know themselves.
  • Manual migrations of data, settings, and applications take many hours; full scale migrations cannot be done without a proven automated tool like PCmover Enterprise.
  • Remote locations of personnel increases the costs of completing a PC to PC migration exponentially. We estimated the saving of using PCmover at a minimum of $300 per PC, but in remote locations it can be $1500 and more.
  • With users having more options to install applications for their particular job, IT departments often do not know the full inventory and disks, downloads, and passwords.
  • PCmover Enterprise is the proven and accepted tool for Enterprises, government organizations, and higher education organizations alike. They value saving time and money to refresh PCs, increasing user satisfaction and enabling large roll-out projects.