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If you have been following the exploding race toward cloud computing dominance you may already know that in October 2009 the City of Los Angeles voted unanimously to move the city’s email and document creation to Gmail and Google Docs. As the second largest city in the country, this was pretty big news. Of course, highly touted as reasons for the move was a purported savings of $5 million along with an estimated $20 million in increased productivity. That won’t completely address LA’s $400 million deficit. But it’s a good start.

Concerns started popping up almost immediately over security issues. And ultimately these concerns recently caused Google to miss their scheduled June 30, 2010 transition date for the City’s service. Incredibly, some were shocked that a tech company had missed an announced deadline! Really? Come on. Like it’s the first time that ever happened!

Anyway, it turns out that on July 26 Google announced a new level of service specifically designed to address the concerns of governmental agencies, titled, appropriately enough, “Google Apps for Government.” In essence, this new level of service offers higher security than the ‘standard’ Google Docs and, in fact, does achieve compliance with the 2002 Federal Information Security Management Act (FIMSA).

While this is all very well for clients in the government sector, it may leave ‘the rest of us’ wondering, Hey! What about me?!! Don’t I deserve better security, too?

And what does it mean for the future of Google that they missed this deadline? What is the significance of that?

Whether you are a Google fan or a Microsoft evangelist I think the message here is simple. And it’s not whose system or product is ‘better.’  Rather, just like humans have done since the dawn of time, companies will adapt. They will continue to grow and evolve to meet the new challenges presented by yesterday’s developments and successes.

And we’re all going to be better off for it.

For more information on the City of Los Angeles’ transition to Google services, do a Bing search.

Or Google!

Bob here.  Apparently there’s a big issue involving the preference of Vampires versus Werewolves in movies (and the minds of teenagers) these days.  This feud is nothing new.  I’m familiar with similar trends from yesteryear (Star Trek versus Star Wars, Hot dogs versus Hamburgers, McDonalds versus Burger King, Dungeons & Dragons versus…well, everybody).

But there’s a one that’s been going on lot longer than all of these.

Data versus Information.  We often confuse one for the other (werewolves and vampires both have fangs, do wacky stuff in the night, and have *tons* of angst!).  But we run into trouble when we confuse them (I dare you to drive a stake into the heart of a werewolf…boy, will you be embarrassed!)

Data is just values that describe stuff.  It doesn’t become information until it’s actually useful.

Example…phone books (yeah, remember those?).  They include tons and tons of data…names, numbers, addresses.  But when you use one, you retrieve the information that you’re looking for.

Information is what comes out of using the data.

Data:  Phone book.

Information:  Name and phone # of nearby plumber that can fix the toilet.

Notice that there’s a process that’s undertaken that retrieves information from the data?

The challenge is when we look at the data and say “Wow, we’ve got all this data.  We’re really smart, and know what’s going on.”  If we never do anything with the data, it’s static.  Dormant.  Useless.

Btw, if you think the analogy likening data and information to werewolves and vampires is lame, you’re lucky.  In the past, I’ve used Potential versus Kinetic energy in a Newtonian Physics framework.

So, let’s say you’ve got a list of your Customers.  Cool.  That’s data.  And it includes when their last purchase was, what they bought, etc.  Yup, data again.

Now, let’s say “give me a list of customers who have not purchased from us, or whose total sales volume have gone down more than 50% in the past 6 months.  Now you’ve got a list that is useful…it tells you something!  That’s data, baby!

So here’s the problem.  It’s a lot easier to accumulate data.  And obviously, it’s a critical function, because ya can’t have information without data.  And there are a lot of folks out there who think that a ton of data is useful.

And it can be.  But there has to be a process applied to it to get the information out of the data, that’s specific to a need (or a question).

So look at your organizations’ data.  And ask a critical question of your data.  How tough is it to get information out?  The tougher it is, the less valuable your data is.

When it comes to sharing information, look no further than to our free monthly Lunchinar on Wednesday, July 21st at Hattie’s from 11:30am-1pm.  Over 40 people attended last month’s meeting!  Our topic is “Strategically Speaking 2:  Blogging for SMBs,” and features a panel discussion chaired by John Harrow.  It’s free, but seating is limited (but will also be available live online).  Email John at or call 234.380.1277 to reserve your seat.

Microsoft and the State of Ohio are joining forces to offer free technical training and certification to Ohio residents, whether employed or unemployed. The program, titled Elevate America was introduced in a Press Release from Ohio Governor Strickland at the end of May. You can read the entire release here:

Nearly 60,000 vouchers will distributed, good for free online technology training and certification.

  • Each training voucher is redeemable for free, online training on Microsoft Windows Vista or any of the programs in the Microsoft Office Suite (2003 and 2007).
  • Each testing voucher is redeemable for a Microsoft Business Certification Exam.
  • Advanced level online training vouchers are redeemable for training for individuals on technical professional career tracks in areas such as web development or database management.

Elevate America helps equip people with the crucial technology skills necessary to get a job in today’s competitive workplace,” said Akhtar Badshah, senior director of community affairs at Microsoft. “We believe that this type of public-private partnership will play an important role as Ohio and the nation work to rebuild the economy by offering immediate access to basic technology literacy and skills training to ultimately improve recipients’ employment prospects.”

Through Elevate America, Microsoft will work with the University System of Ohio’s Adult Workforce centers to distribute nearly 60,000 vouchers.

Locally in northeast Ohio you can access these vouchers through the Cuyahoga Valley Career Center’s Adult Education department ( at 8001 Brecksville Road, Brecksville, phone 440.746.8230. The local contact there is Patricia Coyne, Program Developer, phone 440.746.8233.

For areas outside northeast Ohio you can also get more information by contacting Barb Nicol, Ohio Board of Regents Director of Adult Workforce Education, at 614.644.5704 or

August 26, 2010 is the deadline to access e-learning vouchers or take certification exams. The e-learning vouchers for information/business worker and IT professional, once accessed, can be used anytime from the Aug. 26 date to August 2011.

This is a great opportunity for those seeking to increase their skills and make themselves a more valuable employee. Even if you can’t use it, forward it to a friend. It’s a great deal!

*While the certification tests and e-learning modules are free, there may be fees for classroom/instructors and test proctoring at some sites.

At Simplex-IT we’ve been touting the many benefits of Office 2010 since it was available in its Beta version early this year. Now it’s officially at your favorite retailer or online store.

While Office 2010 retains many of the same features and interface (can you say Ribbon?) as Office 2007 there are quite a few new features that may (or may not) be readily apparent. So outside of taking a class or buying a book or cornering the company geek what’s the best way to learn about them?

Introducing Office Casual – – just one of many topics you can find on the Microsoft Office Blog website. And the best part is, of course, it’s free!

Some of the topics you will find covered include:

  • Getting Started Quickly With Office
  • What Do Slicers Slice In Excel 2010?
  • How the New Photo Tools Work in Office 2010
  • …and much, much more.

 Remember, all of these topics are presented in a video format, making them extremely easy to digest. Just click the Play button, put your feet up on the desk and have some popcorn! It doesn’t get much easier than that!

 As an added bonus, below each video is a collection of links to even more information on that particular subject.

 So if you are looking to add to your daily quota for learning new things, check out Office Casual. You’ll be glad you did!

After many trials and tribulations… the new website is done. (Much fanfare and drum roll go here, along with Bob cheering!) 

You can now find our Remote Support, Client Login for network status monitoring as well as our newsletter signup all on our homepage!  We have IT Solutions and Business Solutions and a really cool article library.  We have testimonials and much more!

 Take a look – and let us know what you think…

On Wednesday, June 2nd from 8am-3pm, Microsoft (along with COSE) is presenting “Microsoft Smart & Simple Technology Strategies.”  According to the post on COSE’s site (click here), you’ll “get tips, advice, and secrets from experts, all designed to help you utilize technology to increase productivity and your bottom line, protect your valuable data, improve your marketing efforts and work better on the go. “  You can see Microsoft’s take on it by clicking here.

Ok, that might be enough to send you there.  But you’ll also get to talk to me during lunch.  Specifically about BPOS, Microsoft’s online suite that includes Exchange, LiveMeeting, SharePoint and Office Communications Online.  I was asked by Microsoft (fools that they be!) to attend the luncheon, and talk to folks interested in learning more about BPOS.

We’ve been working with several companies recently, migrating their email from existing Exchange setups as well as hosted Pop3 services.  It’s actually a pretty cool service!

The event actually looks pretty decent too.  And, unlike most Cose events, this one is absolutely free!

May 19, 2010 saw more than 20 interested people congregate at Hattie’s Café for our monthly, free Lunchinar. Billed as “(Almost) Everything You Wanted to Know About IT Certifications”, the presentation featured Simplex-IT’s president, Bob Coppedge, who held everyone’s rapt attention while he thoroughly reviewed the past, present and future of certification programs for the Information Technology industry. Largely focusing on Microsoft but also touching on programs from other vendors, Bob gave some compelling arguments about which credentials could be considered most useful in increasing an individual’s employability in this fast and ever‑changing technology field.

As often happens at these events, a number of people found at the last minute they would not be able to attend. While they certainly missed the opportunity to enjoy some free food, as well as networking with what I consider some very talented individuals, there was no need for them to feel they missed out on the information that was presented. Why? I’m glad you asked!

For the very first time, Simplex-IT broadcast this Lunchinar over the web using Microsoft’s Live Meeting service, part of their Business Productivity Online Services (BPOS). We’re excited about how this technology allows people to share thoughts and ideas without having to incur the expense and hassle of getting in the car – or worse, plane! – to attend a meeting. The extra bonus is that we were able to record the presentation and offer it here for you to download and enjoy at your leisure! How cool is that? We have two options that are available to you:

  1. Audio Only Part One; and  Audio Only Part Two
  2. The Slide presentation, converted to a pdf file for your convenient viewing

We invite you to download either or both, and enjoy! 

Cyndee here… 

There is a growing movement to quit facebook,  due to privacy issues stemming from Facebook’s new Open Graph API. Users are  concerned about what information is being shared with other websites, even though you can control this using your Facebook privacy settings. To see what information you are sharing with anyone using the Open Graph check out this tool:  I tested myself with this tool, and none of my information came up because of how I have my privacy settings.

But, looking at this from a marketing standpoint,  I can certainly see the advantages to including a few lines of code and a “Like” button on a website.

“The Open Graph protocol enables you to integrate your web pages into the social graph. It is currently designed for web pages representing profiles of real-world things — things like movies, sports teams, celebrities, and restaurants. Once your pages become objects in the graph, users can establish connections to your pages as they do with Facebook Pages. Based on the structured data you provide via the Open Graph protocol, your pages show up richly across Facebook: in user profiles, within search results and in News Feed.” From Facebooks description on the Open Graph protocol.

So, it will be interesting to see how the Facebook Revolt turns out…

Simplex-IT has four must attend events planned for May:

1) May 8th Bob Coppedge will be speaking at the GCPCUG on the ins and outs of the new Office 2010 suite. No charge for this event!

2) May 11th Simplex-IT will be jointly hosting a live webinar with Microsoft to discuss the Business Online Productivity Suite in more detail and we would love to have you attend. There’s no charge and you can participate from the comfort of your own office through your web browser and a pair of speakers. To join the webinar you must register – Click here.

3) May 19th we are hosting another free Lunchinar on IT Certifications - Which certifications are in greater demand and do they increase your employability? Free food!

4) May 25th Bob Coppedge will be speaking to the Hudson Chamber of Commerce on Critical Technology for 2010.

Bob Coppedge is continuing his one-man crusade to educate the world about his passion when he speaks at the Hudson Chamber of Commerce monthly meeting about “Critical Issues in Technology for 2010.” Find out where you and your business need to be by attending this presentation.

When:  Tuesday, May 25 – 11:30 AM-1:00 PM
Where: Clarion Hotel & Conference Center, Hines Hill Road
Cost:  $22.00 (includes lunch)

A fun and informative time is guaranteed for all!

To RSVP, go to or call the Chamber’s office at 330.650.0621