Updating BlackBerries to v4.5

So far today I’ve upgraded 3 BlackBerries from v4.2 software to v4.5. One of the more usefulfeatures in 4.5 is the ability to view Free/Busy times on the handheld. It’s because of this feature that I’m rolling it out to key BB users. At the moment I’m doing it manually via USB/Desktop Manager, butΒ I’ll investigate OTA/Automated updates later on πŸ™‚

You can get the latest OS for your BB from the crackberry forums. Just click on your BlackBerry model range and within that forum, stickied at the top will be downloads for the various models. The forums include upgrade instructions – very handy for newbs like me! πŸ™‚ As an example, here’s a link for theΒ latest BB OS for the Curve 8310.

As an aside, when testing the procedure, I set myself up on a BB. Bad move, and now I know why people call them CrackBerries – they’ve insanely addictive! I promptly deleted myself once testing was over to preserve my sanity πŸ™‚

On treating IT as a cost centre

From what I know/have seen/have heard, generally, companies see IT departments as cost centres, rather than something that adds business value.

I liked this quote on joeware.net:

“[Computers] will just get more and more important and if you intend to simply coast on whatever talent you get for some poor pay, you deserve everything that happens. I have no problem hearing that tech specialists make more than their managers. IMO, in many cases they should make considerably more. It is the tech specialists who keep your company’s tech running efficiently.”

Joeware.net has some great free IT Pro tools btw πŸ™‚

How do you settle on a notebook supplier for your Company?

I’m curious about this. How does a company come to settle on a specific brand or specification of laptop – or any PC for that matter?

Lately, I’ve gone for Dells, as they make it nice and easy. I can call or email my account manager, give him a base unit reference from their website, ask for a number of changes (“I want a spare power adapter, an x res screen and a y size HD instead”) and they do it all for me, and, more often than not, get me a quote within an hour.

So far, I’ve found it hard to find that flexibility and convenience. Unless I’m missing something/someone…

So the question is…

Everyone: What brand machines does your current company use?

IT Pros: Which brand(s) do you buy for your company PCs, and more importantly, why?

TrueCrypt 5.0 released

TrueCrypt 5.0, the open-source, multi-platform encryption suite, is available for download. New features for Windows include improved write speeds (up to 100% improvement) and Full Disk Encryption. They’ve also released a long-anticipated Mac OSX version πŸ™‚

Why did I embolden Full Disk Encryption? Because UK companies and Government organisations are losing laptops left, right and centre – without encrypting their sensitive contents. As an IT Professional, you’d be crazy to not be investigating the various options for keeping your company’s data safe, in the event of loss or theft.

Check out what’s new in TrueCrypt 5.0.

Forging a Good Company Culture

A friend of a friend just started work at Red Gate in Cambridge. I’ve heard about them before, when they won a Best Small Companies to Work For award last year; and from looking at their website, it’s clear to see why.

Here’s some things that stand out for me (and that a lot of companies can learn from):

  • Their site is insanely easy to navigate – and crucially, it’s easy to identify where you are in the site infrastructure.
  • The fact that Red Gate’s career pages give a completely transparent view inside the company.
  • Red Gate has ethics, and gives back to the community – and helps employees to do so
  • The principles behind the Feel Good Fund, not to mention things like Massages, yoga, and the feel good fridge!
  • Red Gate has quiet areas. Open Plan offices are fantastic, but sometimes you just need to lock down and concentrate without any chance of interruption.

What do you think makes a good company?