Forrester Report – ROI of Cloud Apps

The Forester Reasearch released to the public (via a June 23, 2011, white paper titled: “The ROI of Cloud Apps: A Total Econimic Impact(TM) Analysis Uncovers Long-Term Value in Cluse Apps.” Below I will quote and highlight some key conclusions of this report.

Recognize that the report: analyzes the longer-term, five-year cost of ownership and value for cloud applications across four categories: customer relationship management (CRM), enterprise resource planning (ERP), collaboration (including email), and IT service management.”

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iPad Blues with Document Management

I had another hour to kill, just me and my iPad. I thought I would check out GoogleDocs and other options. First stop was the app store. DocsToGo sounded promising but the reviews were mixed. The absence of spell check capabilities was bizarre, particularly since I was so used to the iPads intuitive correction as I typed.

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Live from my iPad

I finally broke down and got an iPad, a Johnny come lately. I prefer to be just behind the cutting edge, particularly when the item costs over $500. It was CloudForce New York that finally pushed me, or rather my partner, over the edge. For now, I am loading up on apps. My iPhone is filled with games which, for now, are banished from the iPad.

And so, I will add to the plethora of posts. This is not fan-mail, but rather a thoughtful inquiry into the use of this device.

Read moreLive from my iPad

Cloud to Desktop – Connecting XpressDox to Advologix

Salesforce is a powerful tool for practice management.  It’s implementation by AdvologixPM brings that power in a digestable form to attorneys.  Until now, your main option for document assembly has been to create basic merge templates.  The DrawLoop addin allowed you to create packages; multiple templates with designated outputs.  But in the end, you were still restricted to Word-Merges.

XpressDox 4.0 introduces the Data Source Configuration Tool

Now there is another option, XpressDox.  This tool is a power document assembly engine (with most everything you would expect from rival products), but at a very competitive price point.  What I want to show here is live and dynamic connection between the desktop version of XpressDox (NOTE: it also works with the Server version as well).

Read moreCloud to Desktop – Connecting XpressDox to Advologix

Travelogue – Stranded in Tel Aviv – Aug. 27, 2011

If you are going to be stranded anywhere, it is better to be stranded in an apartment on Rothschild Boulevard in Tel Aviv, than stuck in the Moscow airport.  Last night as we were preparing for our Red-eye flight to Moscow and then onto to New York City, JFK International Airport, we were barraged with email and calls from friends and family advising us to “stay put”.  The miracle of technology enabled us to get the information, plan an alternate flight (by calling the New York office of Transaero Airlines), and then continue to do business.  We have declared our “vacation” over and resumed full time work; implementing our “business interruption” strategy.

Read moreTravelogue – Stranded in Tel Aviv – Aug. 27, 2011

Travelogue – Galilee and Sea of Kinneret – Aug 23, 2011

One bit of disclosure … the beautiful pictures are NOT mine, they are “borrowed”.  They are meant to be illustrative.  We did take digital photos, and I will try to make them available to those interested after editing the list.

Now, the Sea of Galilee (also known as the Kinneret or the Sea of Chinnereth) was the focal point of our trip to the Northern Region.  Our trip was based at Inbar Country Lodge, a small kibbutz (10 members) in the hills on the west side of the Sea of Galilee.  A few words of background: (1) the “Sea” is not a “Sea” but rather a giant freshwater lake. (2) The Chinnereth is “absolutely still” except when an occasional wind whips up waves.  (3) The Kinneret was one of the primary locations of the ministry of Jesus Christ, and thus is filled with “historic sites” that are known in the Gospels as the locations of many of Jesus’s miracles, as well as his baptism.

Read moreTravelogue – Galilee and Sea of Kinneret – Aug 23, 2011

Travelogue – Eilat and Timna – Aug. 20, 2011

Imagine a lunar landscape with the temperature of Mars and you have now imagined Timna Park.  In the far southern Negev Desert, 50 kilometers from the Red Sea, in the heart of the Great Rift Valley, Timna Park is a “dot” on the map of Israel.  It’s on the great North-South road that connects Be’er Sheva (the last outpost of civilization) and Eilat (the cosmopolitan beach and scuba capital) on the Gulf of Aqaba.  In between the two outposts is desert, boundless and bare.  Along the long highway (over 243 kilometers) is “nothing” by way of settlement.  There is an occasional monument or ruin, and an occasional growth of date palm trees, amidst a sea of wadis, dry barren stream beds that see water only for a few days of the year, if that.  This is desert, much of it several hundred feet below sea level.

Read moreTravelogue – Eilat and Timna – Aug. 20, 2011

Travelogue – Masada

Remember Masada!  Most trips to Masada begin in the dark.  And for good reason.  The temperature in the Judaen Deserts goes from tolerable in August to intolerable (over 100 degrees).  We left Tel Aviv by the main road to Jerusalem, following the route suggested to us by Israelis.  But our GPS navigator get steering me to the South.  I ignored it for while, but then remembered the caution of our hosts to steer clear of the “West Bank”.  After several repeated corrections I realized my GPS was recognizing the “political boundary” and steering me around the West Bank, through Ber Sheva, across the Judaen desert and then back up the west shore of the Dead Sea to Masada.  The route was a bit longer since I ended up backtracking once I viewed the route on the map.

We were rewarded with a tour of the heartland of Israel and the northern Negev desert.  The former was lush farmland.  The later, while barren was spotted with oases of green vegetation. We saw the contrast between the Yishuv kibbutz and moshav (Jewish settlements).  For years the Jewish immigrants to Palestine transformed the heartland through hard labor.  They cleared the rocks, broke up the soil. In places they “washed” the soil to remove the salts that had accumulated and made the soil infertile.  They brought in irrigation.  Here you have steady sun, cooling winds, and flat ground.  With good clean soil and water, you have a veritable garden of eden.  With arid soil and no irrigation you have a desert wasteland.  Before the Jews sent thousands of emigres to work, you had the barren land that no-one wanted.

We passed into the Northern Negev.  This was a land of hills and wadis (valleys cut by the fear desert storms that would come a few times a year tearing deep ruts in the landscape.  We came Bedouin settlements (tents and temporary aluminum structures).



Travelogue – Lost in Acre – Aug 10, 2011

We concluded Tisha b’Av at the International Synagogue in Tel Aviv.  They were having a special showing of a film on Hannah Sennesh, one of the heros of the Zionist movement.  She had left Hungary to join a kibbutz before the outbreak of World War II.  On the eve the Nazi occupation of Hungary, Hannah volunteered with other Israelis on a daring mission to Hungary, parachuting behind enemy lines.  Her goal, to provide Allies intelligence of German troop movements and then get her mother and the Jewish community in Budapest to emigrate to Israel while there was still time. Hannah was captured and tortured. During her time on the Kibbutz she kept a journal, including haunting poetry.  She was captured by the S.S. and imprisoned and tortured.  From jail she continued to write poetry and to smuggle out useful information.  She was hung as a spy on the eve of “liberation” of Hungary by the Russians.  Her journals and writings published posthumously by her mother, as well as her bravery, made her a national hero. The movie, Blessed in the Match: The Life and Death of Hannah Senesh (click here) in English, captures the spirit of the times.  After the movie, we celebrated Mincha in the International Synagogue and the family broke its fast at a kosher cafe across the street with other temple members.  And being Tel Aviv, we took a late night stroll on the beach.

The next morning we left for Haifa.  Our primary goal was the B’hai Gardens.  We cruised up the highway seeing the modern new cities on the Sea and the hill towns.  And then Mt Carmel arose in the distance, a city on a hill sweeping from the Mediterranean Sea deep into the east, bisecting the land of Israel.  Over history, this was the major invasion route into Palestine.  Here many battles were fought.  Here was where the pilgrims landed en route to the holy land.  Here, actually a few miles up the road in Acre was where the British had their notorious underground prison where they held members of the Irgun and Palmach.

We searched for the cave of Elisha the Prophet.  Despite signs, the garden was locked.  We later learned that access was only through the Carmelite Convent.  We visited the Nautical Museum with an amazing collection of Canaanite figurines.  And then we drove up to the top of the B’hai Gardens.  Even though they were closed we were able to enter a few levels and could appreciate its beauty.  We wandered a bit, but nothing excited our interest.  I suggested Acre, variously called Akko, Akre etc).  Unfortunately it was rush hour, so the 15 minute drive took 1/2 an hour and the museums of Acre were closed or closing when we arrived.

Nevertheless, we walked the walls of the Crusader City, along ramparts rebuilt by the Ottomans.  Compared to the condition of the Old City in Jerusalem, this area was deserted and run down.  Acre is an old city, and an Arab city.  It’s architecture predates the arrive of the Zionists and the British.  There are no broad boulevards.  The main streets turn and narrow with dark covered alley ways.  At first we followed the walls, and then entered the crusader citadel.  We passed the British prison and turned at the water.  On one side, a long concrete promenade and crude modern concrete dwellings.  On  the other side, the moat and ramparts of the city.  We walked along the waterfront and harbor.  And then we took the Templar’s Tunnel.  It  led under the city from the waterfront back to citadel.  And then we turned a corner looking for the Turkish bathhouse.  While usually very good with directions, we quickly got lost in a warren of dark streets.  We followed the sunlight looking for the waterfront.  Every street seemed to turn back.  We saw bareboned shops lined will sullen faces eying us suspiciously.

We found a plaza with dark-skinned kids playing.  The were playing with guns.  The guns looked real; but they were cap guns, the loudest cap guns I ever heard.  My son said he saw one kid put a gun in his mouth and fire.  We moved faster, but with no success getting out of the warren.  One understanding resident pointed the way out.  The light grew brighter, but we could still not see the harbor.  This was a walled city with walls on every side.  And finally we saw a car and followed it out.  We emerged on a square with a beautiful mosque. We found out the mosque was the Jezzar Pasha mosque, the second largest mosque in Israel.  Two men gestured to us to enter.  The place was empty, but better a friendly face than several sullen faces or kids with guns.  We entered.  A young man volunteered to be our tour guide and we were able to enter the actual mosque and learn about its history and current  use.  And so our trip to the mosque of Jezzar Pasha (“the Butcher”) ended us on an upnote.  We left the Arab quarter and returned to modern Israel.  En route back to Tel Aviv we stopped at a shopping mall and ate at Burgos Burger Bar (BBB) on a patio in the cool Mediteranean sea breezes.