My Telework Tool Tally

Today’s Tuesday, April 7, and I’ve been working from home almost entirely for some three-plus weeks now. (VMware CEO Pat Gelsinger began our company-wide work-from-home on March 14; and my advisory office inside a DoD agency went “strongly-encouraged remote work” not long after.) So far this week alone, on just Monday and Tuesday, I’ve had the following virtual meetings:

5 Zoom (Enterprise)
1 Zoom Government (CAC-enabled, FEDRAMP-cloud hosted)
1 Google Hangout
1 MS Teams
2 VMware Horizon virtualizing Skype for Business
1 Ubiety
1 GoToWebinar
1 WebEx
2 Phone conference calls (one coordinated/scheduled via Calendly)

I can live with any of them, though of course quality varies, including within the meeting. Users hunt for mute/unmute buttons and other controls, with no consistency across the platforms – it reminds me of the ancient days learning different bold and underline commands in WordStar and WordPerfect ūüôā

Admittedly like most people my favorite feature is the Zoom virtual background; and while I haven’t gone to as much trouble as some of my friends in Palo Alto and elsewhere who have deployed home-office green-screens and photoshopped fancy memes, I’ve been having bipartisan fun switching between these two this week:SitRoom Shepherd

 

 

It’s worth noting, perhaps, that while several of my Zoom “enterprise” meetings and both of the conference calls were internal corporate ones, all the rest included government colleagues, i.e. officials at one or another U.S. government agency – typically with the Defense Department or Intelligence Community. In a few cases they were participating from inside their regular offices, but the majority of them were working from home.

And we got a lot done! But there will be social reverberations. To quote Shakespeare via Aldous Huxley, “O brave new world…”

 

Why a Cloudlet Beats the Cloud for Mobile Apps

Sure, you know cloud computing. You also know a bit about so-called “private clouds,” which enterprises and government agencies are exploring as an option to combine the power and scale of virtualized cloud architectures with security and control over data.

But what do you know of Cloudlets? They may just be a key to the future of mobile computing.

That’s a possible conclusion from the results so far of a Microsoft Research family of projects called MAUI,¬†short for Mobile Assistance Using Infrastructure. The MAUI approach is to enable a new class of CPU-intensive, and data-intensive, applications¬†for mobile devices – but enable them in a new way.¬† Today’s mobile devices can’t run such apps, at least not well. And if they stick to the cloud they may never do so.

I’ve just read a fundamental MAUI paper published last month in the IEEE’s Pervasive Computing¬†journal: “The Case for VM-based Cloudlets in Mobile Computing” (November 2009, co-authored by MSR’s Paramvir Bahl along with colleagues from Carnegie Mellon University,¬†AT&T Research, and Lancaster University).

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