Monday, March 10, 2014

OS-Cubed, Inc. Announces Microsoft Silver Partner and Microsoft Cloud Accelerate Status


Rochester, NY, USA— February 24, 2014 — OS-Cubed, Inc., today announced it has qualified as a member of the Microsoft Cloud Accelerate program by demonstrating its ability to meet Microsoft’s customers evolving needs in today’s dynamic cloud marketplace. To qualify for the Cloud Accelerate program, partners must successfully demonstrate their cloud services expertise through rigorous sales and technical assessments; and ensure the highest quality of services, Microsoft requires customer references to demonstrate successful customer implementations and satisfaction.  OS-Cubed, Inc. is also a Microsoft Silver Competency qualified partner.

OS-Cubed, Inc. formed in 2006, is a development and managed support services company specializing in Microsoft technology based software and infrastructure.  The company provides services to a wide variety of clients across the region and the country.  With dozens of company’s email and cloud services under management – Microsoft has recognized OS-Cubed’s expertise as one of a select few who provide services at the highest level.  Approximately 1000 resellers in the entire world qualify as Cloud Accelerate partners.

 “Joining the Cloud Accelerate Program showcases our expertise in today’s cloud technology market and demonstrates our knowledge of Microsoft’s Cloud solutions,” said Lee Drake, CEO.  “Our clients expect the best support, and the smoothest migration when they move their email infrastructure to the cloud, and OS-Cubed, Inc. has provided that from the very inception of the program – even participating in the beta release of Microsoft Cloud Technologies”.

“Converting to Office365 and cloud technology from our old e-mail platform was one of the smartest decisions we’ve made as a medical practice.” said Laurie Amico, office manager for AAIR, PC. - an OS-Cubed customer.  “We rely heavily on e-mail communication for our growing practice of 5 offices, 10 providers and 70 staff members.  We have close to 100 e-mail accounts and I needed a more efficient, cost effective way to be able to manage that and add new accounts quickly.   The transition went smoothly and the platform is everything OS-Cubed said and more!”
Microsoft Silver Competency partner OS-Cubed, Inc, located at 274 N. Goodman St, Suite A401 in Rochester, NY provides development and technical support services for clients across the US.  In addition, they are experts at development for DotNetNuke, an open source, Microsoft technology based web content management platform.  Among the hundreds of sites under development by OS-Cubed are www.thompsonhealth.com, www.lasermax.com, www.spectracomcorp.com and www.frameofchoice.com. OS-Cubed recently completed major migrations of email  and files for companies such as Allergy, Asthma, Immunology of Rochester (AAIR), and ATD Precision.

Thursday, February 27, 2014

Why estimates aren't free - A Prezi presentation


Thursday, February 6, 2014

Access Apps in Office365 - this is huge!

For years migrating applications from desktop databases like Microsoft Access to the web has been an expensive and time consuming process.  Typically these apps need to be ported to SQL Server, custom forms and reports developed, and tons of translating between "stuff you can do on a desktop database" and "stuff you can do on the web".

Microsoft has now released, free to all Microsoft Office365 users, the ability to port an Access application, complete with forms, database tables, reports, etc. directly to the web.  This lets them begin using a shared web-based database almost instantly, without coding.  It lowers the threshhold for office-accessible secure web based databases.

This series of videos shows how simple it is to create tables, add reports, and port the entire thing to the web in a matter of minutes.  You can create Access apps directly on the web, or in Access offline and move them to the web.

There are limitations to the online version of Access, especially when it comes to imports.  This chart from the Microsoft Learning center shows what you can do with online and offline access:

External data operations available in apps and desktop databases

This table gives you a quick reference of which kinds of files you can import or link to Access apps or desktop databases.
ACCESS APPS CAN IMPORT…ACCESS APPS CAN LINK TO…DESKTOP DATABASES CAN IMPORT…DESKTOP DATABASES CAN LINK TO…
Microsoft ExcelGreen dotGreen dotGreen dot 
(read-only)
Microsoft AccessGreen dotGreen dotGreen dot
ODBC DatabasesGreen dotGreen dotGreen dot
Text or comma-separated value (CSV) filesGreen dotGreen dotGreen dot 
(add new records only)
SharePoint ListGreen dotGreen dot 
(read-only)
Green dotGreen dot
XMLGreen dot
Data ServicesGreen dotGreen dot 
(read-only)
HTML DocumentGreen dotGreen dot
Outlook folderGreen dotGreen dot

These databases aren't suitable for everyone - you need to figure out the best solution for your needs.  But this is a new, surprising development, offered free to Office365 pro users, that will push your database requirements online faster.

OS-Cubed is a Microsoft Cloud Accelerate partner, and are experts at Office 365 database development and design.  Contact us to chat about your requirements.

Friday, January 24, 2014

One easy test to see if the website development company you are hiring is a professional

Would you believe there is one easy test to tell if a website development company you are working with is a professional or not?  And it takes just a couple minutes of your time.  I'm assuming if you're reading this that you might be shopping for a website developer - someone to take your site to the next level.  I'm also assuming you want to hire someone professional - someone who has your company's best interests at heart and wants to create for you the very best website to accomplish your goals.

A website development company should be all about YOU - the customer.  Not about them, or their aggrandizement - and thus we come to the one thing you can easily check about a website development company to determine if they are the kind of company you want to work with:

Do they insist on, or automatically, put their own link on your website?


You've probably seen it before.  Embedded somewhere at the bottom of someone's site in tiny print "Website designed by XXXXXXXXXXXXXXX", with a link back to the website company.  I guarantee you that a website development or design company that insists on their own branding on a site that they developed for YOU for YOUR branding does not have your best interests at heart.  They are thinking of themselves - not you - when they add that tagline.  They should be confident enough in the results of their development effort that they KNOW you will talk about your positive experience with them and tell others.  They should be confident enough in their own website, and marketing efforts that they don't have to resort to virally spreading their reputation by embedding it in their customer's sites - frequently without their permission or knowledge.

The only exception I can think of to this rule would be if the website development company is specifically offering a trade, which frequently happens on not-for-profit sites.  We will do a development effort for you at a significant discount, if we can advertise our effort on the site.  But other than that - there is really no good reason to have someone else's name and branding on your site.

So go look at your own site - does it have your web developer's link on it?  Might be time to shop for a new developer.  Looking for a developer? Check other sites they've done and/or do a google search for their site name - if other companies have their signature at the bottom, move on.  Look more until you find a company confident enough to develop sites without putting their own stamp on them.

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Why Wearable Tech is Here to Stay

Lately the news has been buzzing with the latest in wearable devices.  Devices such as Google Glass, integrated watches by Samsung, Apple and other vendors, Vuzix Goggles (a Rochester, NY company) and Oculus Rift are starting to enter mainstream vocabulary.  Prototypes and beta software are starting to roll out and consumers and developers are getting to start to play with these devices hands on.  Some companies are even looking at creating heads up contact lenses!

This has all happened before of course - we've seen everything from surround vision helmets to heads up displays.  But never before has the actual technology really met the expectations of potential users -  whether it's limited use scenarios, bulky or cumbersome form factors, or poor integration and adoption by other platforms - many such ventures have started and fizzled.

So why is this time different?  Well there are a few reasons:
  • Between advances in optics, small screen and flat panel displays, and miniaturization of essential components the visual aspect of the interfaces have gotten smaller, more useable, and more convenient.
  • The ubiquity of extremely powerful cell phone devices means that processing and communications can be offloaded to that device, rather than needing to be integrated into the wearable platform.
  • The improvement in wireless communications reduces  the size, and increases the range of components.
  • People's addiction to ever-present ever-accessible media, through the use of always on and always connected internet devices has increased to the point where people crave the convenience of making that as quickly accessible as possible.
  • Current interface methods through products like phones require hands-on interaction and attention distracting form factors.
  • Voice recognition - by uploading to the cloud and analyzing in real time - has improved dramatically.
  • Battery technology is improving dramatically making use of such devices more convenient.
  • Movie media has started to prepare people for this reality.  We see fanciful interfaces in movies that mimic the interfaces that these devices give us - and we want them.
So are the new wearable devices perfect yet?  Not by any means.  While the hardware is starting to catch up there are software and social aspects that must be overcome.  How will having an always on and available camera change the way people interact?  If anything you say might be recorded and uploaded to the internet in real time - how will that change society?  There is significant social resistance to people using products like Glass and those issues will need to be addressed if it's to succeed.  And there are still plenty of technological issues to overcome.

I say to you though - these advances are inevitable.  Rather than railing against them your time might be better spent determining how to make best of use of them. Outside the personal use of such devices - the business uses are outstanding.  Imagine a tech having all his manuals and instructions available at will, and having both their hands free.  Imagine being able to shop or price compare by just looking at the bar code on a product.  Record a meeting for playback later rather than taking notes.  Video your professor in class.  Imagine your UPS or FEDEX person abandoning their scanner and just snapping a photo of the package barcode, and recording the GPS coordinates of the delivery.  These are all very real and very doable scenarios without any significant improvement in existing technology.

The advent of prescription wearable tech from Rochester Optical (another Rochester Company) for heads up display is particularly exciting - since the wearers of that tech are already used to having glasses, adding a heads up display is no leap for them - they are used to the idea.  Fashion designers have been pushing glasses as fashion accessories rather than for vision correction - paving the way for the addition of Google Glass and other displays into the world of non-prescription glass wearers.

So with wearable tech being inevitable - how are you planning to leverage that with your new products?  Is there a way you can enhance the use of your product with wearable tech?  Provide an alternate interface or display screen?  Integrate heads up vision?  Are you ready for this revolution and tapping it's potential fully?  OS-Cubed is - ask us how!


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