A week of sports, Apple product launches and continued system decommissioning in the office

Fast on the heels of the Diamond Jubilee weekend and extended public holiday, (wind, rain and the odd bit of sun), it was a big week of sports.

Euro 2012 got underway and the French Open tennis final was delayed until Monday for the first time since 1973. Great result for Lewis Hamilton on Sunday finally getting his first win of the 2012 F1 season with a thrilling victory at the Canadian Grand Prix, but bad news for Jensen Button having a nightmare and finishing a lowly 16th.
Andy Murray gets knocked out first match at Queens and both Luke Donald and Rory Mcllroy fail to make the cut at the US Open golf.

A week of ‘so far so good’ for England at the Euro’s, with a solid 1-1 draw with France followed by a recovery to win 3-2 against Sweden four days later. As expected it’s been a workman like display under the management of Roy Hodgson, but as I’m sure Chelsea fans would agree, it’s a results game, there are no prizes for who plays the most attractive football – just ask Barcelona or Harry Rednapp.

Apple news

After the usual round of internet rumours, (new iMac’s, AppleTV SDK, full Apple TV, etc, etc), Apple took to the stage at WWDC 2012 to officially launch iOS 6, OS X Mountain Lion as well as revamped MacBook Pro’s.

iOS6iOS 6 looks to have some nice features, as does Mountain Lion, but both are more evolution than revolution – I wonder how many more years Apple will be able to get away with that before they start to fall behind the competition. Other than adding extra features not much has changed in the look and feel of iOS and I think it’s starting to look at bit old in the tooth.

Why did Apple choose to launch the new MacBooks before the new OS was available? Wouldn’t it have made more sense to keep WWDC software based and introduce just iOS and Mountain Lion, then to later launch the new MacBooks with the new OS. Doesn’t make sense to me to deliver customers new laptops knowing that they’re going to have to upgrade pretty much straight away. A delayed launch of the new Macbook range would have allowed more internet buzz and a separate hardware focused event to release both together.

As usual Apple seem to be keeping stocks low. There is only one Retina screen MacBook Pro in my local Apple store, and that’s on display in the window! Initially online orders were estimating a 1-2 weeks delivery and that’s now up to 3-4 – didn’t Apple know these things would sell by the bucket load? I can understand wanting to keep stocks low and demand high for consumer based products such as iPad and iPhone, but for more specialist (and pricey), kit I’d have though quick, high sales figures would have been better than high demand. There’s no other computer manufacturer that is able to generate anything like the buzz of Apple when it comes to hardware launches so having and selling stock has surely got to be better than no stock and high demand.

There’s a Microsoft announcement for next Monday expected to be a MS branded tablet/pad/slate/touchscreen device. Will be interesting to see if Microsoft can make a dent in Apple’s dominance in the tablet space – they didn’t seem to make much of an impact on iPods with the Zune range and though Windows 8 looks promising I’m not sure there’s room for anyone else to muscle in on the tablet marketplace.

What’s going on in the office

Another week of progress decommissioning our XenApp 4.5 farm with 8 blade chassis/112 servers ready to go, and even the official start of a tech refresh project to implement XenApp 6.5 to replace the current XenApp 5.0 farm.

Have spent some time in the past week or two setting up and tinkering with a XenApp 6.5 proof of concept, and though Windows 2008 R2 and XenApp 6.5 look to be a clear improvement over Windows 2008 and XenApp 5.0, it’s still surprising how many gaps Microsoft continue to leave when it comes to configuring Windows Server for an enterprise Terminal Server/Remote Desktop Services environment. Why is it still necessary to hack registry keys to lock down the desktop for users? Seems completely daft – surely by now there should be a simple console or Group Policy template to make it simple to lock down the OS to keep the apps focused on applications.
I don’t know why Citrix or AppSense don’t step in a provide a product to do this.
As I learn more about the setting and policies needed I’ll collate them into a blog entry.