July 2012 – tecivo BLOG

tecivo BLOG

My IT notes, 'How To...' guides, Microsoft, SharePoint, Citrix, AppSense, Apple, technology & gadgets and more!

Month: July 2012 (page 1 of 3)

Apple OS X Mountain Lion released…let the upgrade begin

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Apple have launched Mac OS X ‘Mountain Lion’ (i.e. 10.8) today which boasts 200 new features and further assimilates iOS into the desktop OS.

I plan to buy a Retina screen MacBook Pro when stock becomes available which will presumably have Mountain Lion preinstalled, but for a first look will upgrade my late-2008 MacBook Pro to see what the fuss is about.

I carried out some upgrades last year to extend the laptops life until the rumoured/assumed MacBook Air styled MacBook Pro launched, so hopefully everything (supported) will run ok. It has 8GB RAM and a solid state hard drive for the OS with data moved to a second hard drive which sits neatly where the CD-ROM used to be.

There’s already loads of online reviews of the new OS, though clearly a lot were written a while back and based on developer versions. Seems a bit pointless to me to comment on prerelease software but I guess it’s deemed to be more important to be part of the scramble getting something online straight after release than it is to be wholly accurate! I won’t attempt to repeat what’s available elsewhere but will blog some of my thought in the coming days.

Point 1 – is £13.99 an amazing bargain for a new OS, or in fact a cheeky charge for what amounts to not much more than a Feature Pack?


Happily a straight forward installation with no issues. Took a couple of hours to download and about 30 minutes to install. There was a pause for some reason during the download, but restarted and it picked up where it left off.

First impressions:

Shame my MacBook Pro is too old to support Airplay.

Looking at Game Center on standard screen really shows how good the New iPad Retina screen is.

Notifications look useful, but probably more so when Facebook integration is available

Updated Safari seems ok – but that was available for Lion anyway.

Notes is better as a standalone app instead of being part of Mail – much easier to sort out what’s on the Mac and what’s in iCloud.

My slightly older version of Parallels isn’t compatible, so bang goes my Windows 8 VM. Will have to load it onto a spare Toshiba laptop the kids use, or maybe on current MacBook when I replace it in a month or so.


How cool is WinZip these days!

I recently had an update to WinZip deployed to my work laptop so it’s now at version 16.5. This is a lot newer than versions I’ve used before and it feels much fresher.

It now includes the Microsoft Office ribbon with the menus changes dynamically depending on which menu is selected from the tab across the top. (Introduced in October 2010 with version 14.5 as it turns out).

The WinZip web site boasts a number of new features:

  • Zip and unzip files instantly with a NEW ultra-fast zip engine
  • Protect files by encrypting them as you zip
  • Zip and email files in one easy step
  • Back up and archive your data automatically
  • Send large files fast using our NEW ZipSend file delivery web service
  • Share files on Facebook with our new NEW ZipShare Facebook service
  • Tap into your PC’s full zipping power with NEW enhanced support for AMD processors

(Interesting to see that Corel bought the software – was may 2006 apparently).

Aside from these features and the nice Ribbon which we’ve all got used to now with Office 2007/2010, one of the nicest things I’ve noticed is the integration with Windows 7 Explorer Preview Pane

I have no idea whether this is a new feature of WinZip, has been there for a while or was something that Windows 7 (or Vista) introduced but it’s pretty snazzy.

If the .zip file contains a compressed folder structure, selecting it when using the Windows Explorer Preview Pane allows you to browse the .zip files folder structure:

I use the Preview Pane a lot when referencing other documents so any application that embraces this Windows feature is a welcome additional in my book.


End of ‘Summer of Sport’ Parts 1 and 2

End of the Euros

It’s amazing to think that it’s pretty much a fortnight since Spain gave the footballing world a demonstration of their skill, flair and team spirit when they destroyed Italy to win the Euro 2012 final comfortable 4-0. I have no idea where the time goes.

After getting a bit of unjustified flack being called boring Spain put in an amazing performance showing again that at the moment they’re on top of the footballing world.

Their work ethic and ability to retain possession was amazing all tournament. This high percentage of ball retention not only wears opponents down it completely nullifies their ability to score – proven by the stat that Spain only conceded a single goal throughout the whole tournament.

The next World Cup in Brazil should be fantastic and it’ll be fascinating to see how Spain, Brazil and Argentina get on. They’re bound to be the favorites and Messi will need to at least get to a World Cup final, if not win it, to prove he’s the best player in the world.

History at Wimbledon

Last Sunday was the end of Wimbledon which proved to be a historic tournament with a Brit getting to the mens final for the first time in over 70 years. Sadly for Andy Murray he fell at the last hurdle going down 3-1 to Roger Federer who surely now has underlined his credentials to be considered the greatest tennis player of all time. Things started pretty well with Murray taking the first set, but Federer levelled at one set each before a rain delay followed by the closing of the centre court roof which seemed to make all the difference.

Will be interesting to see how Murray does at the Olympics as well as the US Open later in the year. He has the game, he has the coach and Federer, Djokovic and Nadal all look beatable at the moment.

Another great F1 GP

The F1 British GP was almost totally washed out on Saturday during qualifying as July continues the recent trend of mega-rain. Mark Webber won a pretty exciting race ahead of Alonso in the Ferrari. Not a great weekend of the Brits though with Lewis trailing in 8th, Jenson further back scraping a championship point in 10th and Paul Di Resta not even getting round the first lap.

This weekend the Lotus Team carried The Dark Night livery to promote the upcoming third and final part of Christopher Nolan’s modern Batman trilogy, (IMAX tickets booked for opening night next Friday very excited).

Olympics just around the corner

There are just a couple of weeks to go before the London Olympics start which I’m really starting to look forward to. The BBC have just released their opening titles videos which look like high res cut scenes from a Playstation game and they’ve also released a Smartphone app for iOS, Android and Blackberry which will provide loads of stats on each sport as well as multiple video streams. Pretty cool.

We had a community event in the village last week and both kids where chuffed to get their hands on an Olympic Torch brought along by some lucky people involved in the Olympic Torch Relay.

My week in IT

This past couple of weeks work has been all about planning and high level design documents. Because of this I haven’t had the chance to get much more in the way of hands on with XenApp 6.5 or PowerShell as I was hoping. Though did quickly update AppSense to the latest release today in our proof of concept XenApp farm when I noticed AppSense had released a slight upgrade on 25th June. Haven’t looked at the release notes in detail yet so I don’t know what they’ve fixed or new features have been introduced. I also had the chance to re-use my first PowerShell script grabbing some data from Active Directory to provide some stats to the customer relating to how many accounts have access to what. Very pleased with myself.

O2 loses it’s network

O2 had a pretty bad week after it managed to lose its network leaving millions of customers without a connection.

Coincidentally I switched from O2 to 3 this week. A colleague pointed out that a SIM only deal would be far cheaper so I now have a ‘all you can eat’ data package for £10 less per month. On top of that I got £82 cash back, so have gained a saving this coming year of over £200. I’ll be able to put that towards an unlocked iPhone 5 from Apple at launch avoiding getting locked into a long term contract with one of the network providers. Though this approach has a high initial outlay it generally ends up the best value option in the long run.

Getting my iPhone 4 switched to the new network and with the existing number was a bit go a pain though. First 3 rejected the O2 PAC code – turns out that O2 have a new Telefonica naming standard and the 3 web forms automated system didn’t know what to do with that. Was able to sort out through 3s automated help line number easily enough. Next issue it turned out that the phone was locked to the O2 network. To get that sorted you have to fill in some more online forms and wait for O2 to sort it. This was quoted as taking up to 28 days, what a cheek! However, I got a text back within the week saying the phone was no longer locked and to sync it with iTunes to finish the process. Not quite. The phone had to be reset through iTunes to unlock. Which as it happens wasn’t a bad thing as it’s running much faster now.

End of life for iGoogle announced

Bit disappointed to see the link on iGoogle this week saying that it’s being discontinued. I use it pretty much exclusive for causal browsing when I’m looking to see what’s going on in the work of IT, Apple, SharePoint, Sport, News & Entertainment. It’s an essential tool for this and I’ll now have to find an alternative.

Though what i have noticed is that by using a tool like iGoogle I to tend to have a narrow view of news on the web. If it’s not an RRS feed in the portal or published by someone I’m following on Twitter I wouldn’t tend to come across it. Maybe a change is a good thing to broaden my horizons.


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