Wednesday, February 22, 2012

4 years of Community Collaboration

Sometimes things happen for a reason and they do so un expectedly . It was the same for me almost 4 years ago on this day when I found a community portal without a proper  reason in my mind. How things have turned up ever since have had quite a bit of impact on me from a technological perspective. I was just one  of the thousands of graduate students who would go to the college to pursue my studies and come back home to tinker with the favorite pass time of mine - To tinker with a desktop PC I've got.

[caption id="attachment_1285" align="aligncenter" width="500" caption="Old recovery media and Linux cd's dating back to 2002"][/caption]

This tinkering was not always done in the right way and sometimes, I would screw up a lot of things in the process.I had to be very careful when experimenting on new things since I shared the PC with my twin brother. This lead me to do these experiments in the night times mostly from Midnight to wee hours in the morning. Initially It was my sister's Compaq pc which was my test bed and then later on a Lenovo desktop.Among other things,I was introduced to the world of Unix in my college and it was sort of enigmatic experience for me. I wanted to learn everything about the open source stuff  out there and I would patiently wait for a popular magazine to release a cd with the latest Linux distro.One these  experiments on my newer desktops in 2008  led me to the Lenovo community portal.

[caption id="attachment_1292" align="aligncenter" width="500" caption="Knowledge base for the broader set of audience"][/caption]

As with anyone who were searching for answers,I was a ranting customer.I was a bit frustrated about somethings which were not to be found in my PC when compared to other models from the same company.As time progressed, I was drawn to the place as it seemed to be a hub of knowledge sharing.By that time I used to help out people on other social sites with their PC issues.But this portal seemed to be more intriguing.I never knew that companies maintained their own portal or community hubs to interact and collaborate with their customers till that time.I couldn't think of any other place where there were people from many backgrounds and countries who would come together with the same zeal and passion to help out their fellow customers.

[caption id="attachment_1295" align="aligncenter" width="500" caption="I learned about  ThinkPad ecosystem  at the Lenovo forums "][/caption]

Till date,I am just amazed by the sheer diversity of the people with whom I interact during times.They include Philosophers,Industry leading Malware experts and people who are dexterous with everything related to creative and graphics. Sometimes I really think that - had I not tinkered with the system I've got,I wouldn't have found such a platform to find interact with like-minded people as I. Initially I supposed it to be Stockholm syndrome .But now it is no longer the case.

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Soluto's new Incarnation shines

Its back! and this time with some new intriguing features.2 years ago,I first tried  Soluto when a friend of mine told me about it. The way it worked was very different when compared to the regular tuneup apps out there. After reading about the latest version at the Zdnet Blogs,I couldn't wait so I took it out for a drive on two of the systems which I have.Both of the test systems are Lenovo thinkpads running Windows 7. The reason I wanted to try on two systems this time was to see the way in which the remote support feature would work between these two systems.

To start with things,I installed the app on a Thinkpad T410 which I use as a desktop replacement in my home. The installation was not successful at the first time and after trying for many days,it finally worked. For users who want to help other people you can add upto 5 PC's in your account which can also include your own.People who require help from  the main user are supposed to accept invitations - which leads them to download a client version of the app which then connects to the helper's pc at any given time. After I installed the client version on another notebook,this time a thinkpad X1,I logged into to see and tinker with all the new stuff which was touted about it on the tech sites.

[caption id="attachment_1261" align="aligncenter" width="500" caption="Soluto correctly labled my other notebook as a Thinkpad X1"][/caption]

Much to my surprise,I was immediately presented with a screen which showed a brief history of my other notebook in the site.This included app history,System crash logs and performance issues. Soluto combines all of this data into so called "frustration level".  Since the X1 was a new notebook,the frustration level was very low :). The way in which the system information of my X1 was presented also seemed to be intuitive - Short but crystal clear.

In comparison,my frustration level with my older thinkpad was justified with what  the app history  was been shown  and also its  associated problems.

After it was installed on the X1, I had to wait for some time before data could be collected from in from it so that I could really see what was being detected. The app presented with a lot of information including Configuring the browser,Windows updates and Application installations.And sure enough after some time,it figured out that there were a couple of windows updates for the newer PC which could be installed.

[caption id="attachment_1270" align="aligncenter" width="500" caption="Remotely configuring google chrome"][/caption]

[caption id="attachment_1271" align="aligncenter" width="500" caption="Configuring windows update"][/caption]

I thought that the updates would installed right away in the remote computer,but they did not.Soluto says that its magic and the actions would be performed only when the user on the remote PC is idle.The goal for them is to perform these changes without the user being not getting disturbed.So the next day when I opened the X1,I saw both the apps which I installed remotely.Windows update and Google talk. Voila!