Strategic Informatics

A blog about the strategic application of technology


Blackberry Storm First Impressions

Like most large enterprises we have our fair share of smartphones in use.  While IT tries to keep this limited to a select few, I did recently get a hands-on with the new touch screen Blackberry Storm from Verizon.  Being an iPhone user myself I can certainly say it was a different experience and RIM while taking advantage of the now popular touch screen enabled devices has set themselves apart from the iPhone.  For better or for worse the phone appears to be solidly built and well designed.  Several side-by-side comparisons with my iPhone revealed the Blackberry Storm to be a little shorter and thicker but weight was about the same and I would certianly have no problems carrying it in my pocket.  The higher-resolution camera would be a welcomed addition to my iPhone but my real test was trying to use the clickable touchscreen.  Being and iPhone user for the past year and a half didn’t help my experience as the Storm functions more like a tablet PC where the focus is constantly changing as you move your finger around the screen to select different options.  When you have moved your finger over the menu item or area you want to select you simply press down on the screen.  The feedback was intuitive enough but I made the mistake of using it in portrait mode where the web browser presented me with a condensed set of keys (two letters for each key).  Turning the unit sideways revelaed a full single letter per key layout which was better for writing messages.  I enjoyed the iPhones predective text features more and having the pop-up visual keys appear when you type on the iPhone.

The clickable test is not a show stopper but I imagine, that while effortless, a long session of typing would cause your thumbs to become a bit tired.  Granted these devices aren’t meant for long diatribes but should certianly meet the needs of most quick e-mail responses.  I think I’ll stick with my iPhone for now and hope that Apple continues along their roadmap and includes some needed enhancements to the existing software like landscape typing of e-mails, status screen separating unread messages into multiple accounts, more alert options for new messages.  Some of this may come about with the release of the push-messaging agent Apples been promising but if history is any indication I shouldn’t have to wait too long before Apple sends out another enhancement release.


Running Citrix ICA client on Linux – Ubuntu 8.10

As fate would have it I have the need to access Citrix applications again so as a matter of convenience I wanted to install the ICA client on my Ubuntu 8.04 desktop. After way too much effort I was finally able to get the client installed and launch application from within the SSL web interface via Firefox.

To install the ICA client on Linux go to the Citrix website and click Download to find the Linux client or click here for the tar.gz version

Note: You will have to turn scripting on to view the download link.

Extract the en.linuxx86.tar.gz file to your desktop

gunzip linuxx86.tar.gz

tar -xf linuxx86.tar

In the extracted directory type the following from a terminal window:

sudo ./setupwfc

Follow the prompts to install the application and install the linux for your Gnome or KDE installation.

After installing this successfully I tried to run the ICA client from within Gnome but the application would not run. After a little searching I discovered I needed a missing library. From the desktop open System > Administration > Synaptic Package Manager

Search for libmotif3 and click the checkbox and select Mark for Installation then click the Apply button.

After installing this missing library I was able to see the application and spawn the ICA client from within Firefox when visiting our Metaframe server. However after launching an application I received an “SSL Error 61: You have not chosen to trust the issuer of the server’s security certificate” message. A little more research indicated I needed to copy the ca-certs in the mozilla directory to the cacerts directory in the ICA client installation. So open a terminal window again and type the following:

sudo cp /usr/share/ca-certificates/mozilla/* /usr/lib/ICAClient/keystore/cacerts/

There you have it…another wonderful installation on Linux that is horribly more complex than it has to be. As much as I love Linux it is installs like this that make me appreciate my Windows and OS X systems.


Onward and upward…

The posts have been a little slow recently because I have transitioned into a new position as Director of Applications for WellMed Medical Group, Inc. It is an amazing company with a tremendous amount of growth.  I’m into my second week and have had no problem immersing myself in the many concurrent projects tha are happening within IT.  I’m grateful to have a very sharp group of developers working with me and and a strong infrastructure team to help move us along.  A forward thinking founder who is tech savvy really helps challenge IT to meet the needs of a growning enterprise of companies.  One of my many tasks is to assist in the redesign of their EMR.  While a daunting task it is not often you get to start with a clean slate  and not be completely consumed with limitations of legacy apps.  It is an exciting to develop an enterprise application that utilizes current technologies and development methodologies that are really tailored to our practices needs.


Panasonic releases new slate based Toughbook


The  ruggedized healthcare targeted slate is built on a 1.86 GHz Intel Atom CPU, 1GB of RAM, an 80GB SSD, a 10.4-inch 1024 x 768 resolution LCD display, and 802.11a/b/g/n which is very similar to current netbooks. Available in January of 2009 for $2,999.  While the price is steep its ruggedness typical with most Toughbooks will ensure you aren’t replacing it anytime soon.   The video below give a good overview of features and options specific to a healthcare enviornment and you will probably get a laugh at the actors trying to recreate an actual clinical environment which in my experience requires much more chaos…  The wireless features are pretty valuable for mobile professionals who require seamless access between WiFi networks and cellular data networks.


* Genuine Windows Vista® Business with Service Pack 1 (with Windows XP Tablet downgrade option)
* Intel® Atom™ processor (1.86GHz) Z540 with 533MHz FSB, 512KB L2 cache
* 1GB standard RAM configuration
* 80 GB 1.8-inch shock mounted hard drive
* 10.4” XGA sunlight viewable 500 NIT Dual Touch LCD screen (1024 x 768 resolution), InPlay Technologies digitizer
* Anti-reflective screen treatment
* Integrated 2.0 megapixel auto-focus camera with dual LED lights
* Fingerprint scanner
* Contactless smartcard reader
* RFID reader
* Fully rugged
o MIL-STD-810F and IP54 compliant
o 3 foot drop approved
o Magnesium alloy chassis
o Sealed all-weather design
o Rain-, spill-, dust- and vibration-resistant
* Intel® WiFi Link 5100 802.11a/b/g/draft-n
* Bluetooth® v2.0 + EDR
* Integrated docking connector
* Integrated options:

o Optional integrated WWAN / Gobi™-enabled mobile broadband (EV-DO and HSPA)

o Global position system (GPS) receiver
o 2D barcode reader (also reads 1D barcodes)
* 6 hour battery life
* Twin Hot-swappable batteries
* 3.4 lbs (with batteries)
* 10.4” (W) x 10.6” (H) x 1.3” – 2.3” (D)