First things first: our thoughts and prayers go out to the people in the D.C. area and to the people in Nairobi who have been impacted by recent events. We have family members who work in the Navy Yard compound in D.C., and we have a customer (the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization) in Nairobi, but fortunately our family and our customer colleagues are okay. Others are not so fortunate, and our hearts break for them. We pray that the Nairobi situation will be resolved soon.
Last week was about new smartphones for me. Mi-Co has a long history of working with hardware partners to provide demo software and solutions to help them sell their hardware. In support of our partner Samsung, I purchased a Samsung Galaxy S4. I am impressed with it.
For enterprise prospects like the Department of Defense and Coca-Cola, Samsung is emphasizing SAFE and KNOX. SAFE stands for “Samsung for Enterprise.” The four pillars of SAFE are: Corporate Email/Calendar/Contacts (Microsoft Exchange), On-Device Encryption (256-Bit), Virtual Private Network, and Mobile Device Management (MDM). At least in the case of VPN and MDM, Samsung works with numerous third-party vendors.
Samsung KNOX allows enterprise workers to create secure enterprise or personal sandboxes for data and apps. According to Samsung, KNOX meets the needs of the most demanding, high security corporate environments. It also allows users to keep their personal information private, especially important in a BYOD world. KNOX essentially provides a secure container for apps and data and an enterprise app store. Mi-Co is in the process of submitting Mi-Forms mobile forms software for KNOX approval and ability to run as a KNOX app – stay tuned for more!
For the Samsung phone, I chose T-Mobile service. They claim their coverage is getting better, and so far the claim is consistent with my experience. For those who are curious, below is a map showing where I drive every day in the Research Triangle region of North Carolina (RTP, NC).
Although I have had the phone less than a week, I have experimented with it on nearly every portion of this route with good results.
After getting the Samsung phone, next came the challenge of selecting a phone and a plan for my daughter’s 13th birthday. Because she is already so hooked into the Apple ecosystem, having had an iPod Touch for many years, an iPhone seemed like the logical choice. I selected a “pink” iPhone 5C. I put “pink” in quotes, because to me there was a hint of peach or orange, but as my wife and daughter and even Apple would say, who am I to question Apple’s colors?
I added her to the T-Mobile plan for the simple reason that their plan seemed far more economical than adding her to my wife’s Verizon plan. Verizon wanted a new two-year commitment and $150 per month for my wife and daughter to share 700 minutes and 4GB per month of data. T-Mobile sold us unlimited minutes, unlimited texting, and 5GB of data for $100 a month. As long as coverage is decent, it seems like a no-brainer. And with a month-to-month plan, they make it easy to try it. One note: as a business plan, even the T-Mobile salesperson had to learn that T-Mobile refers to the plan we needed as “small business pooling” rather than a “family plan.”
Finally, it appears that my new Samsung smartphone may have solved a personal productivity problem of mine. Each Sunday at church, I am responsible for organizing a group of people to take up offerings and to serve communion for the month. Every Sunday, I am asked by members of this group, which rotates from month to month, what their assignments are. It really helps to have the assignments handy on a smartphone device. However, some Sundays, my smartphone has refused to download the attachment to the monthly email I send with the assignments. An easy solution is to save the attachment to a folder in my Android smartphone, assuming it downloaded correctly. However, as a child of the on-demand-ATM-instant-gratification culture, that would be too easy.
After taking photos with the Samsung S4, Samsung suggested another solution. Through their Gallery app, they encourage users to share the photos to Dropbox for cloud storage and backup. Having used Dropbox before, I realized I could solve my offering/communion assignment list problem with this service. I create the assignment lists in a folder on my PC in PDF format for printing and sharing. With Dropbox, I could easily share this folder with my smartphone through the cloud and automatically have all of the relevant files available! Problem solved!
(Additional Note: I am in transition between a Droid 3 and the Samsung Galaxy S4. The only critical observation I will make based on the file-sharing experience is that Quickoffice (the default PDF viewer on the Droid 3) renders PDF files more faithfully than POLARIS Office (the default PDF viewer on the S4). POLARIS Office changed the fonts of the assignment list when displaying it.)