The BYOD Baker’s Dozen: 13 things you should do if you’re implementing a “bring your own device” program at your company

the BYOD baker's dozen

Here’s a little goodie from my previous job that you might find useful. It’s The BYOD Baker’s Dozen, a “laundry list” white paper that I wrote in an afternoon for Rogers’ Managed Mobility Services, and it lists the 13 things that you need to do to help ensure that the Bring Your Own Device program that you’re implementing at your company actually works. Rogers now offers it in exchange for a little contact info and you can download it from them, or you can always go to my LinkedIn profile, where you’ll find it under “Chief Technology Officer, Comprehensive Technology Solutions / Top Right Corner”.

Here’s a quick summary of The BYOD Baker’s Dozen, which says that if you’re implementing BYOD at your company, do the following:

  1. Pick supported platforms first, then choose devices from those platforms.
  2. Require employees to lock their devices with passcodes.
  3. Enable device location, remote lock, and remote wipe on all BYOD devices.
  4. Use mobile device management.
  5. Increase your network capacity.
  6. Secure your network.
  7. Take inventory of all the devices on your network.
  8. Specify how BYOD devices will be supported by IT.
  9. Define approved apps.
  10. Consider cloud solutions carefully.
  11. Teach your employees about BYOD security, best practices, and how to make the best use of approved apps.
  12. Learn from your employees’ experiences with their mobile devices.
  13. Develop a mobile device policy.

The mobile accessory you probably didn’t want: a bidet sprayer/toilet paper stand/tablet caddy

bidet sprayer tablet stand

This is one of the more unusual tablet accessories I’ve seen, and I don’t think you’re going to see it at the Apple Store or Best Buy anytime soon.

At first, I thought that a bidet sprayer/toilet paper stand was an odd accessory for a tablet until I remembered the 7″ Kross Smartpad tablet I pity-bought at a charity auction. It has a resistive (read: terrible) touchscreen, holds its charge for a mere 45 minutes, runs Android 2.3, and most importantly for this accessory, is completely ass.


Let me guess: you work at a startup, right?

let me guess - startup, right

In programming, we call this the model-view-conformer pattern.


The verdict on Windows 8, and predictions for Windows 9

Back in September 2011, I posted this image in an article titled We’ll Know For Sure Next Year, and it’s been getting a lot of hits lately:

I think the graphic is wrong in a few ways — I thought 3.1 was only acceptable, 95 was good, and 98 was “meh” — and it’s missing Windows 2000, which I thought was good. It’s put Windows 8 under “meh”, as I always kick it into desktop mode, which effectively makes it Windows 7 with a couple of improvements and a downgraded Start menu. What’s your take?

pc sales year over year

Graph adapted from Stratechery. Click to see it at full size.

Last week’s post on Ben Thompson’s blog, Stratechery, looks at the prevailing wisdom that the steady decline in PC sales from 2010 on were caused by tablets and longer PC lifecycles and adds a third cause: Windows 8. While the drop in 2010 — the year the iPad came out — is the most dramatic, the next most precipitous drop came in the wake of Windows 8’s release. Thompson writes:

In other words, instead of alleviating the problems facing PCs – no reason to buy – Windows 8′s increased complexity added a reason not to buy. That was certainly the case in my family: in early 2013, when my father asked me for advice on a Windows computer, I found myself advising him to seek out Windows 7. Were he to have had a suitable computer, I likely would have advised him to do nothing at all.

It’s difficult to see where Microsoft goes from here; contrary to what you might expect, there is still minimal overlap between Windows 8 and Windows Phone, meaning apps made for one are incompatible with the other. Abandoning either means effectively starting from zero in that respective form factor – and pissing off a lot of partners. Yet there’s little question in my mind that the touch environment is hastening the decline of PCs suited for the Windows desktop, even as the desktop ruins what is honestly a rather delightful tablet experience.

My experience is pretty much the same as Thompson’s. I’ve helped a number of friends and family upgrade existing computers or buy new ones, and most of them, even those who bought touchscreen-equipped machines, have resisted Windows 8, considering the interface formerly known as Metro to be useless (if you’ll pardon the term) “window dressing”. Those who went with Windows 8 have generally kept it in desktop mode, and once Windows 8.1 came out, they followed the steps to make it boot into desktop mode and bypass “Modern UI” altogether.

As of this writing, Windows 8.1 is running on fewer than 25 million PCs at this moment, one of which is my sidekick machine, a ThinkPad T430. Considering that it’s a free upgrade and fixes a number of issues with Windows 8, this number is bad. Even Microsoft’s biggest non-“blue badge” evangelist, Paul Thurrot, has used the word “disaster” for this figure. In comparison, Samsung sold half as many Android-based tablets during Q4 2013, and Apple moved 25 million iPads in the same period.

build conference

The next Windows, whose codename is “Threshold” and whose official name will be Windows 9, is expected to ship in April 2015, one year after the upcoming Build conference. Microsoft’s biggest non-“blue badge” evangelist, Paul Thurrot, is already singing its praises in a number of posts:

For Windows 9, if the pattern holds true, it should be “good”. Until it comes out, I’ll have to say the same thing about Windows 8 back in 2011: We’ll know for sure next year.


San Francisco’s entitlement culture trickles down

the new spirit of san francisco

Photo courtesy of Wikimedia Commons. Click to the see the source.

You’ve probably heard of Angelhack founder Greg Gopman’s Facebook rant about the homeless in San Francisco, which included this neo-Dickensian gem:

The difference is in other cosmopolitan cities, the lower part of society keep to themselves. They sell small trinkets, beg coyly, stay quiet, and generally stay out of your way. They realize it’s a privilege to be in the civilized part of town and view themselves as guests. And that’s okay.

…and this one:

You can preach compassion, equality, and be the biggest lover in the world, but there is an area of town for degenerates and an area of town for the working class. There is nothing positive gained from having them so close to us. It’s a burden and a liability having them so close to us. Believe me, if they added the smallest iota of value I’d consider thinking different, but the crazy toothless lady who kicks everyone that gets too close to her cardboard box hasn’t made anyone’s life better in a while.

It’s a little odd that Gopman complained about the homeless, since he may have done his own little part to exacerbate their situation. SF Weekly reports that the fratboy from Florida (why am I not surprised?) first moved to San Francisco to get closer to the tech scene, he lived in city-subsidized affordable housing meant for low-income families, despite being single and not low-income.

Gopman has since deleted his Facebook post, but thanks to sites like Valleywag, it’ll remain online for some time.

peter shih - 10 things i hate about you

Screen shot of Peter Shih’s Medium post. Click to see at full size.

Gopman’s polemic was echo of an earlier post on Medium made by Celery founder Peter Shih, where he wrote a laundry list of his top ten peeves about San Francisco. One of them, of course, was the homeless:

San Francisco has some of the craziest homeless people I have ever seen in my life. Stop giving them money, you know they just buy alcohol and drugs with it right? Next time just hand them a handle of vodka and a pack of cigarettes, it’ll save everyone some trouble. I’m seriously tempted to start fucking with people and pay for homeless guys to ride the Powell street cable cars in the middle of the day, that ought to get the city’s attention.

Shih wasn’t afraid to extend his rant into other areas, including the women of San Francisco for being, whom he castigated for being, as he oh-so-charmingly put it, “49ers”:

No, not the football team, they’re great. I’m referring to all the girls who are obviously 4’s and behave like they are 9’s. Just because San Francisco has the worst Female to Male ratio in the known universe doesn’t give you the right to be a bitch all the time.

Like Gopman, once word about his post started getting around, Shih also deleted his screed. Unlike Gopman, but like Tommy Wiseau (who realized that people went to see his film The Room not because it was good, but because it was so, so bad), Shih retconned his post as a satirical piece.

office space underlings

This sort of behaviour is almost expected from tech leaders. From Steve Jobs to Bill Gates to Larry Ellison to Eric Raymond to Richard Stallman, many of these people exhibit some strong toolbag tendencies and are perhaps a lab accident away from becoming a supervillain. The problem is that our industry’s Bill Lumberghs’ behaviours are trickling down to the Peters, Michaels, and Sameers, if this Craigslist ad is any indication:

north beach apartment ad

Click the Craigslist ad screen shot to see it at full size.

Here’s the text of the ad:

$1400 Bedroom in North Beach Apartment (north beach / telegraph hill)

The Room: Your room is an unfinished room with closet space. You move in early February. Rent includes utilities and Internet.

The Setup: The two of us will share an apartment with one bathroom, small living area, and full kitchen. Each of us will have our own room. There are laundry facilities in the building.

Me: I am a professional who works in FiDi. I am clean. I don’t cook. I wake up before 7 a.m. and sleep before 10 p.m. I don’t smoke or engage in drug use.

You: You are quiet. You don’t talk on the phone. You don’t listen to music except through headphones. You work a lot. You spend most of your time at work or with a significant other whom you never bring to the apartment. You don’t cook regularly. You sleep early. You don’t smoke or engage in drug use. You are clean.

Our Roommate dynamic: We don’t talk during the work week. We barely talk on weekends. I passively aggressively punch you in the face if you leave dirty dishes in the sink. We clean the apartment every week. Maybe you have access to HBO, and we watch Game of Thrones in complete silence.

If interested, please e-mail your resume, proof of salary (e.g. paystub or offer letter), and the following information:

1. Gender
2. Annual Salary
3. Employer
4. Bedtime
5. Wake Time
6. Number of Times Per Week You Anticipate Cooking
7. Reason for Moving

There’s a possibility that this may be a little social experiment rather than a genuine post, but having travelled ’round those parts recently for a number of interviews and gatherings, there’s enough in the ad to suggest it’s genuine. Ah, Poe’s Law

Thanks to Tod Gemeuse for the heads-up about the ad!


Blast from the past: “Rise from your grave!”


Animated GIF via brecht.

I pumped so many quarters into the arcade version of Altered Beast in the late ’80s, and in the early ’90s, I’m sure I wore out a controller or two on the Sega Genesis version.

For those of you who never got to play, someone’s posted a YouTube video showing a playthrough of the whole thing in a shade under fourteen minutes:


Jeff Sandquist’s looking for a few good people to work at Twitter: Developer advocates, partner engineers, dev marketing people, and operations analysts

you want to work for jeff

Jeff Sandquist was a fellow Canadian at Microsoft, and we worked in similar areas, with me being a developer evangelist and him being Senior Director of Developer Relations. Earlier last year, he left Redmond and headed to San Francisco to assume his new role as Twitter’s Head of Developer and Platform Relations. Few companies have the reach, influence, and user base of Twitter, and Jeff’s one of the best developer relations guys in the field. I would love to work for him.

twitter-logo-transparentHe recently announced on his Facebook page that he’s hiring! He’s looking for:

  • Developer advocates
  • Partner engineers
  • “Developer marketing types”
  • Operations analysts

There are multiple openings for each of these positions, and they’re all based in San Francisco, where Twitter HQ is.

If you’re angling for one of the developer advocate positions, you should have these skills:

  • Mobile development (iOS and Android)
  • Web stack (in Twitter’s case, the standard HTML5 and JavaScript, with Python)
  • Data (working with their Firehose partners and API)
  • Evangelism: writing, speaking, and all those other soft skills you need to evangelize technology

Better still, Twitter won GlassDoor’s “Best Place to Work in Tech 2014” award:

Twitter’s a “work hard, play hard” kind of place, and Jeff’s a solid, great guy. If you’re a go-getter who wants to work with a great team in a great environment with a great director, send him your CV! He’s and @JeffSand on Twitter. Tell him Joey the Accordion Guy sent you.