Nitish Kumar's Blog

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Archive for April 2010

Concept Application for Nokia N8-Contacts Redefined

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Recently I wrote about next coming Nokia Flagship, Nokia N8, the crown bearer of all Camera Phones in the world. There still remains a lot to talk about the same, but real thing will be when it reaches to our hands. Admirations, amazement and long wait to explore it.

Wait must be making you crazy!!!! now you can do more than waiting, to make the jewel your own. A chance to make the next coming Symbian^3 experience even better, a chance to take things to another level. Give your idea about a new app and if it sounds cool then you could win a Nokia N8.

All the details are here. That’s is what keeping Nokia on the top since all those years. First the Device from Community Ideas and then the future Nokia device, then create your app and now this. Must say, you are heading right Nokia!!! Winning or loosing is on another side, you belong to hearts.

So, what you are waiting for? Its your chance to make it, go for it. An idea could change the life.

nokia-n8-launch


Like the last competition about Future Nokia, in place of taking part into competition only, my idea is to take the opportunity to present some of my thoughts, which will be very basic, very possible, just Layman’s Take, but still worth thinking for. so here I am presenting one of my ideas here that I don’t think will get voted much there (I am not popular like CJ or AAS :jealous)


Before you you read further, let me tell you that this app is not real till now like I seen this post referenced as somewhere. This was my own concept that how contacts could be improved on Nokia N8. The screenshot is obviously from an iPhone.

Contacts Redefined (Social / Geo)

The idea is not entirely new. There is already an app named Hermes on Maemo fetching info like display contacts picture, numbers, webpage, birthdays etc from your social contacts and putting into contacts and calendar. I just wanted to add some more and bring it to already much social Nokia N8 in a big way.

Think about a future, where you need not to ask/ tell your friends about their numbers, birthday etc or update them about changes, because its always updated right into your phone without any manual efforts. You don’t even needed to create a phone book, when get a new phone. No one misses birthdays anymore, if not logged into social connections for a while as their phones will automatically going to remind them about upcoming birthdays or events.

Facebook, Twitter, MySpace, Orkut etc. all are open with their APIs and depending on privacy level user chooses, practically its not big deal to fetch such profile information from your social connections. Though Hermes doesn’t do that but the same application could be extended to add geo info as well from Ovi Maps or Google Lattitude etc.

Think tomorrow is your friend’s birthday and at 11:45 PM, your phone rings a bell about that and after greeting him/ her in night, when you woke up in morning, at 9:00 AM, you get driving instructions to reach him/ her, if practically near.

I don’t talk about cheesy things, but for me its a very practical, basic and very possible idea to go with. If you fear about battery, then updates could be manual/ optional or of longer durations or in place of replacing/ adding info, it could be chosen to pop up as suggestions kind of (Google Buzz way). Obviously customizations possible from performance point of view or to avoid cluttering on user’s preferences, but practically unlimited contacts space needs something like this for very sure.

Not sure that Ovi will pick this idea today, but it will come to smart phones very soon, from here or there. If you think phones as your personal assistant, friend or companion, then you want this.


If you think this idea is cool then vote for it or promote it in your own ways. Its there (search for Nitish).
 
 

Written by Nitish Kumar

April 30, 2010 at 5:45 pm

So my Ovi Cool Swags arrived – Love you Nokia :)

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Remember that Ovi Maps competition, @OvibyNokia people started on 22nd March 2010? One was to cerate a story, showcase a video or something like that about Ovi Maps and prizes like Nokia N97 mini were on stake. Sigh!!! I wasn’t that lucky to bag one of them but sure I was quick enough to post one story of mine (which was just fresh to me).

March 23, 2010, 17:46, I got a tweet/ Direct Message from @OviByNokia that I am one of five people winning Ovi Cool Swags for being early participants. A tweet from OviByNokia

The fastest participants to the#OviMaps competition get cool swag! Congratulations @riteshnewatia@not_al @trotor @mrnitishkumar@acurrie


There was a long wait of more than one month and finally, the wait over now and the surprise gifts started reaching to participants, here comes un-packing of my items …

1. DHL Parcel: Many of us, now have become used to these parcels, thanks to WomWorld/ Nokia and similar was security staff of my office. Though for a difference I got the call that there is parcel for me from Germany. I was sure that its that Ovi Swag as was notified by @OvibyNokia on twitter.

DHL Parcel

2. The Invoice: Yes! I have seen invoices from WomWorld, but there was no logo on them. So, it was nice to see a Nokia logo for a change on invoice. Same was the reason to include the same in pics.

The Invoice 

3. The surprise revealed: The goods inside were one white T-Shirt (Did I told you that white is my favorite color?) and a beautiful shiny green packet (green for maps).

The opened parcel

4. What’s inside the packet?

Full Content DSC00972

So there was a White T-Shirt (XL for me though), one Diary, one 4GB cute little pen drive, one Gel Pen, one circular magnetic badge and one sticker. Though still I am trying to figure out that how the last two could be utilized, these all are enough for making me smile.

DSC00965DSC00970Can any one tell what the last two might be for? I mean with Circular Magnetic Badge and Ovi Sticker.. Waiting for comments…

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Written by Nitish Kumar

April 30, 2010 at 1:38 am

Nokia N8 bringing class to mass- Nokia N8 Vs iPhone 4G?

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In our Hindu Mythology, there’s a saying that whenever the nature starts loosing the balance, the God arrives to make sure that nature may regain the balance. May not be exactly the same, but probably Nokia’s next product lineup seems to be doing something sort of that ;)

For me technology designs two kind of products; for mass or for class and the actual growth of the society comes with a proper balance of these two. Unfortunately, in recent past, we seen the balance going much of disarray kind of. Apple iPhone 3G not less than 30k, Nokia N900, probably around 34k and similar were the case with HD Mini or others.

Many questioned from my circle over the price and I guess many others also might be wishing to voice their concerns. A price over Rs. 30, 000/- for smart phones? I mean however advance they might be, whatever the technology might have topped, but its a phone man!!! You could get a Netbook in the same price easily with bigger screen, then why spending this much over a phone only? I dreamed for not only better equipped but a better priced smart phone.

Yes! technology is good, the convenience it brings is good, understand that what it takes to bring the same in hands of people, but still it needs to reasonable and affordable to call it “buying a phone”. Were people thinking to buy computers, when they were of house like sizes and prices like even businesses can’t afford? Were ACs made their places in every third home before prices went low?

There was a race between Smart phones not only about features and bigger processors, but about prices as well like who can place a more higher priced phone than other. It really seemed to have lost focus about actual buyers. Being the biggest cell phone manufacturer in the world, it was sure a call for Nokia first and I am glad that they finally took it. Nokia seems to all set for bringing class to mass (C3, C6, E5 and now N8).


Two leaked flagship phones, the lost Apple iPhone 4G prototype and then mysteriously leaked Nokia N8 prototype and it was clear that Market is all set to see another battle even before a MeeGo device could actually arrive (only that should have been actually compared with an iPhone for real). Nokia kept it reputation of being a company for community and made the official announcement for the next Camera Flagship for whole industry, Nokia N8 (probably there was no option left).

500x_iphone4_01n8-2

While still a long wait before we will be able to actually see these two flagship model from two different “cultures” (expected to be released almost at the same time), its sure going to be a hot topic for blogs to compare both of them. Being different price segment device, it wouldn’t be fare to compare them, but still mentioning a 10 points comparison between Nokia N8 and iPhone 4G for people exactly looking for it…

1. Connectivity: When it comes to connectivity, then on papers, it seems to be a tie as most of the advance connectivity options seems to have became a standard now (except HDMI port in Nokia N8). What seems new to Apple’s iPhone 4G is introduction of Micro-SIM in place of standard SIM (it was already there in Apple’s iPad). Still its not clear that what it might be offering in terms of functioning, but as the manufacturing company ETSI (European Telecommunications Standards Institute) has been offering increased control and security features in its chips, many might be expecting that in place of being some ground breaking technology for connectivity, its more about the compactness, control and security. Apple! why cant you be open?
 
I don’t think that Apple would have thought about providing HDMI port (till now at least), definitely it would be a selling point for Nokia and more convenience for users.
 
2. A-GPS: I tried, but still unable to find that if Nokia N8 is going to sport Digital Compass built-in, most probably, it will not. Here we find Apple better as iPhone 4G has no reasons to go below than 3G version. Digital Compass technology might be a little tough or costly to implement, but people who have used it, know that its a blessing.
 
Apple get marks over this one, but still Apple’s GPS software doesn’t matches Nokia’s and Google not ready to give voice guided navigation to iPhone. Yes! Apple’s attempt to improve its own map software seems to be right step in the road ahead. But still I didn’t seen anyone enjoying navigation over iPhone that much, as we see people with even cheaper Nokia sets.
 
3. Display: Nokia is bringing 3.5” multi-touch capacitive screen in a flagship model finally (I don’t call the others as flagship ones). While its a matter of excitement, but its true that like in case of GPS, Nokia’s experience win, with multi-touch and capacitive screen, iPhone OS4 and its apps are expected to win the battle. More of it, Apple completely dominates due to fact that its expected to sport a much higher resolution than we ever might had seen.
 
Higher resolution does wonder that we had already seen with Nokia N900, even then I could understand Nokia’s concern of keeping price low. Probably that became the reason for lower resolution, but still I will say Kudos to Nokia!!! I am with you.
 
4. Sound: Dolby surround sound!!! are we really talking about smart phones. Technology changes a lot and making many things affordable. Apple’s products always known for their sound quality and as both of them going to sport second microphone for noise cancellation, we are all set to move into dream world of music soon. Expecting it to be a tie.
 
5. Camera: Forget it Apple, you are not even going to get even proper mention in this segment. Nice if you added flash, nice if you added a better camera, but you can’t even dream to tally with a Camera like Nokia N8. 12 MP Camera with HD Recording and Xenon Flash!!! Are you insane? Any iPhone including 4G can’t even think of competing even my beloved Nokia N82, leave Nokia N8 aside. Not mentioning much about Camera as there is no fight at any level.
 
You may check AAS article to go into a little more details, Nokia N82 been a king and the successor is going to make even hard core cameras envy ;)
 
Apple!! You need to move up till 7 generations at least to get par with Nokia N8’s Camera.
 
6. Processor: iPhone 3G supposed to have a 620  MHz processor under the hood and iPhone 4G probably coming with a Dual Core processor. People are wondering if the same would have 1GHz or more. A lot of expectations are here with iPhone and same has to compete with 1GHz processor of Google’s one, Apple sure could not afford to go low. But still Nokia really making me smile by introducing Nokia N8 at this point, in place of introducing some big successor for Nokia N900. Its already been hard for Apple to sell their phones in Asian market and now …. Apple is on double axes.
 
Definitely a better processor makes you capable of doing much more thing and providing developers a better platform to think more, but at the same point its about being reasonable as well. Nokia does an excellent job with Multi tasking all the time and Apple just seems to be introducing a mediocre multi tasking at this point. Why can’t you achieve that level of multi tasking that Nokia seems to have with even early 300 MHz processors? Many might have seen Nokia N82 running more than 60 apps at a time and they will sure be asking that what’s important? what you do or how you do?
 
Definitely, Apple seems to have a better processor with iPhone 4G, but still it doesn’t seem that Apple will make use of the same for real things. Nokia has ruled with multi-tasking and I think Apple will take one more generation to understand that.
 
7. Memory support: 16GB eMMC mass memory + micro SD card slot (support up to 32GB memory cards), 135MB internal memory, 256 MB RAM and 512 MB ROM, Nokia seems not leaving a place for complaint. I am sure, Apple going to do better with RAM and Application memory, but still there seems to be no place for a memory card slot even now. Being a close technology didn’t served better in past, still Apple seems to chose being worse than Microsoft.
 
Apple!! definitely, till you don’t reconsider this, you will be loosing points. Include MicroSD Card support please. Nokia rules in this department like always.
 
By the way, why I am missing USB-on-the-Go? You can completely travel without PC and transfer files to open drives or external hard disks. I have to see the maximum support though, may be I will be able to connect with my 1TB External USB HDD and watch any movie while travelling.
 
8: iPhone OS4 Vs Symbian^3: There has been big talks around iPhone OS, a number of developers are running after their lives for designing apps day and night for “The most advance mobile OS of planet”. Still openness of Android and Maemo shown the way that what could a more flexible and attractive platform for mass rather than serving profit needs of some company.
 
It nothing like I hate iPhone OS, in fact, I love the innovations it does and understand the Enthusiasm with which developer die for it, but still I hope much more from a Symbian.
 
Only obstacles in Nokia’s way ahead is obsession with backward compatibility. The same probably been biggest reason behind Windows Vista under the hood and fear is if the same happening with Symbian. Sometimes complete overhauling may be required than sticking with older rules only (We have seen in case of Maemo), issue is that overhauling should not be half baked like Nokia N900 missed Ovi Maps and Ovi Store miserably.
 
A MeeGo would be more suiting to stand in league of Android or iPhone OS, but still I believe Symbian^3 will stand tall even if doesn’t win against iPhone OS4.
 
9. Openness and Easy updates: I loved the way Nokia releases firmware updates for their smart phones ‘frequently’. Yes!! they are not that frequent like Microsoft does or like Maemo started doing, but still having free updates over the air is something so amazing for me and others out there for the convenience it brings to users.
 
Apple!!! people hate you for creating the term “Paid updates”. Nokia will be beloved for the same always as I don’t seem that Apple will bow down to remove its arrogance.
 
10. Battery Life: Nokia N8 going to sport a lesser battery (1200 mAh) than Apple, but its replaceable. Definitely Apple and Nokia get their advantages in terms for that.
 
I wonder if Nokia could produce a separate more power battery on additional cost. Why can’t the same device had two different kind of batteries in same shape? Would be a more flexible option for people asking for more.

Update: After observing Q&A session of Nokia, feeling a little disappointed to know the fact that for keeping the slim looks, Nokia did the biggest compromise ever, Integrated battery with the device that could not be replaced by users themselves. Not happy with this fact at least. Not able to digest as it was deal breaker to many. Nokia goes Apple way in this case. 


 
A lot could be talked about and would be talked about these two device in next days. I am just doing my bit. :)
 

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Written by Nitish Kumar

April 28, 2010 at 3:10 am

More over Nokia N8

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Lots of talks were going on over Nokia N8 from long, we even seen the early pics from a russian blogger on last day, but still many were wondering if Nokia going to miss the dates as rumors were saying that Nokia going to unveil this device in April 2010 only. So, today was April 27, 2010 and with only 3 days more remaining in April, rumors got it exactly right, when Nokia Conversations probably became the first source to announce the next generation of Camera Phone series.

Nokia-N8-Vasco-full-specs

This was the sneak peak into the device, we seen early the morning.

In first few mins, the official site had some issue with authentication and was asking for username/ password probably for the active content. But even if one was cancelling prompts, site was ready to reveal the show stopper Nokia N8 in complete day lights. I already have mentioned about the specifications and price from the same source. Now, even officially product page arrived. Head there to know more about it.

The site has an emulation of Nokia N8’s screen on the front, you can watch the video and increase the volume, forward, pause etc. Not sure, if it has the same messaging apps as Nokia C3, Nokia C6 and Nokia E5 going to have. (Just checked the official page, it will have the same Mail/IM support as upcoming Messaging devices), not sure why Nokia kept the resolution 640×380 in place of 800×600 of Nokia N900? But still if price remain on Rs. 22, 000/-, then Nokia did an amazing job like always to bring the capacitive screen in such a ‘small price’.

Nokia-N8-03

Yes!! the price is small about this device as I bought my Nokia N82 two and half years back in Rs. 19, 500/- and its still pricing around Rs. 17, 000/- at least I guess. Leave the brand new amazing Symbian^3 a side, leave the costly but lovingly smooth iPhone like capacitive screen a side, its going beyond double of your mega pixels in Nokia N82, bring 12 MP with HD recording @30fps with same Xenon Flash everyone of us was craving for.


Let me add one thing on disappointment side, its expected to be launched in the countries given below only in first phase:

Finland, France, Germany, Italy, Netherland, Poland, Spain, Sweden, United Kingdom, United States, Brazil, China, Portugal

Why you skip India all the time? A reader mentioned that release will be worldwide and I re-checked. Sorry for early excitement. Hope it true.. want it soon in my hands.


Geeks might be out to complain abound lower battery of 1200 mAh, few might mourn about RAM still on 256 MB and CPU on 680 MHz, but no one could deny the fact that only Nokia could have done this by bring a full fledge connectivity device, 3.5” capacitive screen, 12 MP Camera with Xenon Flash and HD Recoridng, 16 GB eMMC Internal Memory (expandable to 32 GB via card), FM Reciever/ Transmitter, finger/ stylus touch over Capacitive screen and what a look.

Updates: Adding few videos about Nokia N8

Nokia!!!! only you could have done it. Hard to wait for it. WomWorld/ Nokia!!! are you listening me? :P

Written by Nitish Kumar

April 27, 2010 at 4:48 pm

Nokia N8 Finally Brings Multi-touch to Nokia

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Here comes the reason to believe on rumors. Nokia announced the long awaited and rumored device Nokia N8 today. The first to bring Symbian^3, the first to bring 12MP Camera, the first to bring Multi Touch capacitive screen to Nokia, probably first to bring HD Recording in Nokia Smartphones and finally it brings back the beloved Xenon Flash. Dreams came true.

n8-2

Available in a number of colors and a big 3.5” screen with most of space making the screen only not button, its set to be a great multimedia device for sure. Am I going to get complete replacement for my Nokia N82? Falling in love with lovely looks … though missing the while color from the bunch. Will Nokia Launch the same in white as well?n8-5 n8-1 

The most awaited device is expected to arrive in market by third quarter only with a price Rs. 22, 000/- around (hope taxes wont axe a lot).

Available colors
Dark Grey, Silver White, Green, Blue, Orange

Operating times

  • Talk time (GSM/WCDMA) – 12/5 h 50 min
  • Standby (GSM/WCDMA) – 390/400 h
  • Video record – 3 h 20 min
  • Music playback – 50 h
  • Video playback – 7 h
  • Video playback with HDMI – 6 h
  • Web TV – 3 h 20 min

Nokia Original Accessories:

  • Nokia Wired Headset WH-701 (in box)
  • Nokia Bluetooth Stereo Headset BH-905
  • Nokia Bluetooth Headset BH-608
  • Nokia Extra Battery DC-11
  • Nokia Bluetooth Stereo Headset BH-214
  • Nokia Bluetooth Stereo Headset BH-505
  • Nokia Mini Speaker MD-9

Technical Profile:

  • System: WCDMA 850/900/1700/1900/2100 and GSM/EDGE 850/900/1800/1900
  • OS: Symbian^3
  • Form Factor: Touch screen monoblock
  • Dimensions: 113.5 x 59.12 x 12.9 mm (L x W x H)
  • Weight: 135g
  • Display: 3.5 inch widescreen (640 x 360 pixels) capacitive touch
  • Battery: 1200mAh BL-4D
  • Media Storage/Memory: 16GB mass memory + micro SD card slot, 135MB internal memory, support up to 32GB memory cards. RAM256 ROM512
  • Video Playback: Video recording, Performance: encoding 25fps, decoding 30fps, File Formats: H.264, MPEG-4, VC-1, H.263, Real Video 10, ON2 VP6, Flash video
  • Music Playback: FM radio, FM transmitter, MP3 player, Supported codecs: MP3,AAC,eAAC, eAAC+,WMA,AMR-WB, DRM support, DRM: OMA DRM 2.0
  • Main Camera:
    • Lens: Carl Zeiss optics
    • Image capture: 12 megapixels
    • Video capture: HD 720p
    • Aperture: F2.8
    • Focal length: 5.4
    • Flash: Xenon flash
  • Connectivity:
  • HDMI adapter CA-157
  • WLAN IEEE802.11 b/g/n
  • BT2.1 with support for stereo headsets
  • Positioning with GPS, A-GPS, WLAN and Cell-ID
  • Micro-USB 2.0 high speed for file transfers and charging
  • USB On-the-Go
  • Nokia AV connector 3.5 mm for audio input/output and TV out

You can download the official press release with docs from here.

Just placing the quick info from the official site, will be back with details soon.

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April 27, 2010 at 3:54 pm

SpiceWorks IT Desktop: IT Management for Dummies

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While managing IT infrastructure for any organization, over the time, things grow up a lot, only to make you feel that you can’t be everywhere, can’t keep eyes over everything, specially when management seems to squeezing human resources all the time. In place of delegation of things, responsibilities seem to get centralized over few and one just find frustrated with the tiny details he needs to care about all the time. Is it time to be negative about the responsibilities or come up with a new and positive approach? Do some more hard work or keep yourself updated with cleaver work? Really being an “IT Guy” sounds tasteless … here comes SpiceWorks … spicing up IT as it says.

What is SpiceWorks?

Spiceworks provides a free systems management, inventory, and helpdesk software application, Spiceworks IT Desktop, designed for network administrators working in small- to medium-sized businesses.

Spiceworks IT Desktop is used to inventory, monitor, manage and report on software and hardware assets. It also includes an integrated help desk system. Spiceworks runs on Microsoft Windows and discovers Windows, Unix, Linux and Mac OS X machines along with other IP-addressable devices such as routers, VOIP phones, printers, etc.

An adware and is written in Ruby on Rails, Its not a complete and detailed Monitoring Solution like Zabbix (I already wrote about), but for me it covers another other aspects of your IT management that Zabbix left, in a powerful way like Inventory, events reporting like installations/ updates and complete out-of-the-box-Helpdesk segment.

Login Page


Here is feature list:

  • Scan SNMP Devices
  • Linux Scanning via an SSH login
  • Scan Windows Devices via WMI
  • Ability to manage your software licenses
  • Alerts on customizable definitions (eg machines with no anti-virus or low printer toner)
  • Software automatically categorizes machines into groups. eg Laptops, servers, routers etc
  • Ability to define custom devices
  • Ability to compare one machine with another
  • Ability to manage services on remote machines
  • Plugins
  • Reports
  • Network Map (Beta)
  • Helpdesk with user portal

Having Inventory of all your hardware’s and Software’s is something as important as having control over each aspect of your servers. An Inventory not only helps IT staff, but could be a key document for management as well. But the most tedious part is to keep it updated and you always wish that there is some solution that might be doing the job for you without any manual intervention. SpiceWorks does the same job very well, lovable because it doesn’t requires any client side installation and still keep you updated about any changes done in your infrastructure.

Customized report

The other important aspect of SpiceWorks in my scenario is Out-of-Box ready to roll Helpdesk solution. A helpdesk keeps your support efficient and ensure resolution of issues within time frame. Not only evaluate individual’s skill sets, but also provide a complete view for IT Staff and management that how well or worse they are providing support. Not only that it may also reduce common calls that requires little IT interventions and could be dealt by non-IT Staff because, it grows up with an open database of resolved calls with causes and comments about the resolution.


Enough with dry talk, now let’s engage ourselves in some real things

Installing SpiceWorks IT Desktop:

A 23.3 MB Download from the link, the spiceworks.com web site claims the software is an IT manager’s dream – asset management and help desk, all from a simple Windows PC. As the site mentions

Spiceworks IT Desktop is designed for

  • IT Pros who have admin rights on their network.
  • Organizations with less than 1,000 devices on their network. It will work with more but it won’t be as fast.
  • Running on a PC. It discovers Windows, OS X, Linux and Unix but you need to run it from a PC on your network.

System Requirements

  • Windows XP Pro SP2, Windows Vista, Windows 7, Windows 2003 Server SP1, SP2 and R2, & Windows 2008 Server
  • 1.0 GHz Pentium III class processor
  • 1.0 GB RAM (Notice that this one is trickier as it has to cover a lot of aspects)

Browser Requirements

  • Firefox 3.0 – 3.5
  • Internet Explorer 7.0 – 8.0
  • Google Chrome 2.0

As its not always the case that you get a fresh server to install a new application, one should worry about two things with installing any of the web solution, first if its going to take the default http port 80 and if the database its going to use already exists on the same server, you are going to install SpiceWorks IT Desktop. Thankfully, SpiceWorks goes well about both the cases. It takes port 9675 (Of course, choice is yours) for HTTP and the database used is not MySQL, but is a SQLite database.

End of worries. Could go for installation now…

~24 M of installation take a little while to install and greet you with a couple of questions about your network like range of IP Addresses to scan, various Windows username/ passwords details possibly across your network, ssh credentials and you are ready to scan your network for finding devices. Yeah! As the very first step, it asks you to get registered with Spiceworks, which would be your one point help system and integration of your account with web resources.

There are also services related requirements on client side like WMI related services should be in running mode and firewall should not be blocking SpiceWorks access. I am not sure that Remote Registry Service is required or not, but possibly that is also in set of requirements on client side.

typical dashboard

Go for a complete network scan and in just few minutes, you should start getting discovery, monitoring, and alerting items from all over your connected network.


Inventory

I think it would take a few days for you to manage all of the devices showing up in Inventory Dashboard of SpiceWorks. After the same, one could go for the first amazing part.

Click on reporting (http://localhost:9675/reports)

Reports page

Create a new report, name it and add columns as per your requirement or even add conditions for making inventory for some specific group of devices/ workstations like I went for all workstations, whose names might be starting with “IT-“. Columns added in my case were Name, IP Address, Operating System, Serial Number, Model, Manufacturer, Memory, Processor Type, MAC Address and Installation Product Key

Customized report

Click on Save and Run and few minutes more will present you a perfectly made, Excel/ PDF/ CSV exportable inventory of your network. More of it, this report will be saved with you to re-run later on for finding more current status of devices.


Helpdesk

Adding a new face to your IT Support, profits of a fully equipped Helpdesk really could amaze you and your clients, if you never worked before with any kind of IT Helpdesk. Many even might be running their home made CRM to keep it flexible for meeting their needs. This might come to surprise many in the fact that its totally free of cost and still works like a charm.

HelpdeskTicket

Just click over Helpdesk to find the tickets (http://localhost:9675/tickets) being displayed there with filters like Open Tickets, Closed Tickets, Unassigned Ticket etc. Now you have two ways; either let IT Staff lock the complaints themselves with details or even pass the responsibility to actual users themselves via portal (http://localhost:9675/portal) that could be flexibly customized through (http://localhost:9675/user_portal) like let me show you mine one..

Helpdesk view

There are many details left to be explained in this article, much left for even me to understand and learn through, still waiting for some book (SpiceWorks community seems to be working on the same http://bit.ly/antjqa) … even then like Zabbix, I find SpiceWorks IT Desktop kind of must recommend for any IT Administrator.

SpiceWorks official Twitter page has introduced me with their few free training and demonstration videos, which you can go through to know that what this could do for you.

Videos | Events

Let’s spice up IT a little (in fact a lot).

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Written by Nitish Kumar

April 24, 2010 at 4:22 pm

Zabbix Monitoring-Simplest becomes more simpler

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Remember that IT guy from the movie “Hello” based on Chetan’s One Night @ Call Center? So many USBs hanging around neck, some screw drivers in the pocket, some wires here and there … and don’t know what else. A funny sight to laugh about, but little does you realize that life of us, we ‘IT guys’ somewhat really become the same.

Month by month reduced manpower and day by day getting complex infrastructure really make we IT people, (even if equipped with most powerful and expensive hardware on our side) running every moment of each day. Even sometimes, we find ourselves fed up of our own jobs and issues popping around from all over, try to come up with new energy at every next day and tired at the end of day thinking that will ever we going to get some productive time to block issues before rising rather than facing issues which most of the time arise due to the fact that even after knowing rules, we can’t keep an eye over each and everything by own.

Monitoring solutions do the job for you. You know that problems come due to grown logs, low disk spaces or any such parameter, which could be monitored easily if individual, but monitoring all at one place is what these monitoring solutions are all about.


I already have recommended Zabbix as complete monitoring solution and even wrote a dummies manual about deployment of the same on your Windows/ Linux workstations and Servers. Once I even been complaining about the complexity and confusions around simple yet very complex in nature Zabbix Solution.

Genuinely, having a cool product in your hands solve many things, but it frustrates you a lot, when you get lots of questions hitting your mind and no authentic solution over the same other than random answers in forums or hit-n-trial experiences of other users. You wanted to have command over what’s going on in your infrastructure and you not confident about the product itself?

After receiving and reading the Packt Publications book over Zabbix written by Rihards Olups, I really feel getting the same confidence I always wished for. The book really clears around tiny details of Zabbix. As I promised in my last introduction post about the book, allow me to share detailed summery about the book now…


Zabbix 1.8 Network Monitoring
Language :
English
Paperback : 428 pages [ 235mm x 191mm ]
Release Date : March 2010
ISBN : 184719768X
ISBN 13 : 978-1-847197-68-9
Author(s) : Rihards Olups

428 pages are like nothing, when you talk about something that covers really a lot, but the step by step and Layman’s approach make each of the page of real worth.

Chapter 1: Getting Started with Zabbix

This chapter covers almost all what in first place, you may come to know after installing not one, but a few Zabbix servers. It starts from what Zabbix is, what are the features, how it will look like and then how to install and configure. Yes!! even the first chapter leaves you with completed installation and web frontend with brief explanation of each step and command you went through while installation.

Chapter 2: Getting your first notification

Zabbix is much bigger thing than just the installation. by looking at the default provided graphs and monitored data of the server itself already gives you an idea that what Zabbix is going to do for you, but knowing the details like creating a host, items to monitor, defining triggers, email notifications, creating actions etc are what concerns this chapter. It explains in details that how we can monitor some particular element of consideration in Zabbix terms.

An experienced learner could gather the details at his own pace, but having the correct manual about each and everything makes your life easier about the product and enables you to concentrate more on your scenario itself.

By the way, this chapter could be downloaded as sample chapter from here

Chapter 3: Monitoring with Zabbix Agents and Basic Protocols

Zabbix usages client-server way to bring the most from the monitored host. You are needed to install Agents on client side (already discussed in earlier chapter). This chapter deals with more finer elements of Zabbix Agents and show the way to use them all over the Zabbix frontend.

Chapter 4: Monitoring SNMP and IPMI Devices

Once I mentioned that it requires installation on client side, few of you might have started to think that not each device will be like that you could install something up on like your DSL, your UPS, your EPBX etc… what about that? Don’t get worried, Zabbix isn’t only for typical specialist Server Administrators, but it does the job for more complex scenario as well, where the infrastructure to be monitor includes more variety of devices.

This chapter deals with how to monitor SNMP devices and how to get along with other monitoring interfaces and real worth reading for people, who wanted to extend their capabilities/ responsibilities at another level.

Chapter 5: Managing Hosts, Users and Permissions

This chapter is about the instructions that how to behave with frontend about managing hosts, users and permissions as the name hints. It also shows that how you can create different groups for different monitoring responsibilities and in this way delegating the works and rights that might be more suiting to your environment.

Chapter 6: Acting Upon Monitored Conditions

A monitoring solution is not only about knowing whats going on, but also doing corrective measures at first place, if harmless. This chapter deals about the same like how to create triggers on specific scenarios, putting human readable constants and using scripts/ remote commands to deal with situation in first place with human intervention. One of most worthy chapter of this book.

Chapter 7: Simplifying Complex Configurations with Templates

Templates are like standards or tailor made copies for scenario and having lots of customizable ones make your life more easier. This chapter deals with various templates available with Zabbix and also how to use them.

Chapter 8: Visualizing the Data & Chapter 9: Creating Reports

These two chapters deals about the presentation part, which would be actual impression when people other than administrators go through them.

Chapter 10 to Chapter 13

These four chapters dig deeper into advanced item configurations, scenarios, later included proxy method for monitoring remote locations and database itself. Worth reading for administrators, who feel themselves comfortable with day to day tasks with Zabbix and want to go geeks with it now.

Chapter 14: Upgrading Zabbix

This chapter deals with one of the most important aspect. Zabbix is a constantly growing application and sure we find ourselves in front of another version with new features in short intervals. Knowing exactly that how to make the transitions without loosing data is what concerns this portion of the book.

Chapter 15: Taking Care of Zabbix

My experience says that even beginners should read this chapter for sure otherwise they are bound to pass through un-necessary worries like I went. Having a good thing is good, but best is to keep it good. This chapter not only talks about performance and efficiency cautions, but also give good instructions about backing up and restoring data.

 

There are two Appendix A & B after these all chapters, which deals a little with troubleshooting in a few scenarios and things like Global support through online documentations, forums, wikis, IRCs.


If you know the worth of a monitoring solution like Zabbix, then more than anything else, this book makes the place in your closest book self for any free time reading more than anything. Its not about impressing others with some tricks around Zabbix, but its about real living with it.

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Written by Nitish Kumar

April 24, 2010 at 2:02 am

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