Dell OEM Day – Part 2 [The Custom Experience]

January 13th, 2011 at 10:53 AM  2 Comments
This is part two of a multi-part article covering Dell OEM Day, an event for bloggers that Dell hosted on December 14th, 2010.

In my last article about Dell OEM, I talked a bit about their history, how they came to be, and a little bit about how they’ll do just about anything for you. The real question is, what is covered under “anything”?

Well, let’s start with this: Dell OEM, both directly and indirectly, produces custom systems for all types of industries: retail, industrial, power, health care…the list goes on and on. Each of these industries more than likely require a server (or twenty) for their day-to-day operations, but some of them require specialized servers. Servers that you or I actually might use, but aren’t aware that it’s a Dell system hiding in there. I am, of course, talking about completely customized servers.

Lets explain their customized solutions with a simple example:
You’re a Server Administrator in a large company, and it’s been decided that your company will use the Google Search Appliance for all your internal search needs. It’s quite a unique looking rack-mounted server, with it’s hot-rod yellow and bubble bezel. Management likes shiny things, right?

So now that you have Management’s stamp of approval, you contact Google and place the order for the new server.

Time passes and the server has arrived. With glee you open the box and find the nicest looking server around. Except now you have to hide it in a server rack, where nobody will see most of that awesome paint job.

You get everything hooked up and go to configure it, but there’s a problem and it’s not doing what it’s supposed to do. Exhausting all your knowledge and local resources, you call the Google support number and inquire about the technical issue you’re having.

They do their thing, you realize your mistake (d’oh!), and your server is indexing all your data. Success!

What’s the point of this story? You’ve been dealing with Dell nearly this entire time.

When you ordered the server, it was built, boxed, and shipped by Dell OEM.

When you called for support, it was Dell that answered that call.

And that, dear readers, is how Dell can create a completely custom experience for both their clients and end users alike.

Google’s custom experience is likely on the high end of the scale — it’s not likely that most companies would want this level of involvement. From what I saw during my trip, some companies simply go with a branded bezel and shipping box, which still provides the end users of these systems with a nice touch of originality.

In the next article, I’ll be covering a little more on the customization process that Dell OEM can do. Paint jobs and bubble bezels aren’t all they can do!

Dell OEM Day – Part 1 [The Beginning]

January 7th, 2011 at 4:39 PM  4 Comments

Dell Offices

This is part one of a multi-part article covering Dell OEM Day, an event for bloggers that Dell hosted on December 14th, 2010.

When you think Dell, what’s the first thing that comes to mind? For most people it’s desktops or laptops, and rightly so — it’s their core business model, after all.

What if I were to tell you that, inside Dell, there is a group of highly intelligent business people, engineers, researchers, and [name of group that builds computers] that work on systems that you and I take for granted every day? They exist, and they’re the Dell OEM Group.

A month ago I wasn’t even aware this group existed. When I was finally introduced to the fact that Dell has an OEM group, I pictured a department that built and shipped custom servers that fell outside of the normal system that you can assemble on Dell’s website. Well I was party right, but what I learned while visiting Dell gave me a whole new perspective on the company.

First, a little history: Around 1999, Dell was approached by a company asking for a server that would connect a proprietary network to a point of sale system. They didn’t want to pick out all the parts for the server like you would do in a normal Dell build, they just wanted something that worked. Obviously this request fell outside of their normal build orders, as it would have to be a completely custom system tailored to their request and the requirements needed in order to connect the two systems the box was to be designed for. The job was done, and was likely the seed that would go on to spawn the “Industry Solutions” group, which Dell renamed to “Dell OEM” only a few short years ago.

From that first job back in 1999 spawned a department that now pulls in over a billion dollars yearly with a fairly small client base of around 1,500 customers — quite an impressive number for a group that isn’t known to the mass populace.

The motto at Dell OEM is “We’ll do anything you pay us to do.”, and they mean it quite literally with a strong passion behind their words. The proof, of course, is in the world around you. Did you visit Redbox today or does your house get its power from a nuclear reactor? There’s a pretty good chance Dell OEM was a part of that.

In the next article, I’ll be covering more on Dell OEM’s clients and how they create a truly custom experience for their clients and end users alike.

Microsoft giving all employees free Windows Phone 7

October 31st, 2010 at 12:26 PM  No Comments

Microsoft employees, who do you love? Is it this guy? Well you should, because your Christmas bonus this year is coming in the form of a brand new shiny Windows Phone 7.

Last week at PDC, Microsoft gave all 1,000 or so in attendance an LG Optimus 7 to start testing and building applications on. This was exciting for those in attendance because it makes them one of the first in the United States to get their hands on a Windows Phone 7 device in any mass quantity.

This week, however, all 89,000 employees of Microsoft will be getting a complementary, yet unannounced, Windows Phone 7 of their own. Given the diverse geography of Microsoft’s employees hopefully they’ll have their choice of handsets based on network providers. This should go a long way towards promoting their new platform internally. Up until now almost every Microsoft employee I’ve ever met in the last three years has sported an iPhone.

Google made a similar move when they released the very first Android handset, the G1.

via Network World

Microsoft highlights PowerPoint 2010 improvements

August 26th, 2009 at 12:28 PM  1 Comment

If you thought Office 2010 was more than just ribbon improvements, you’re in for a surprise.

Microsoft has released, through the PowerPoint Team Blog, a new video and some details about some of the updates PowerPoint 2010 will be receiving. The team says this will be the biggest visual update to the product in the last 10 years. PowerPoint’s graphics engine has been rebuilt to take advantage of 3D accelerated graphics cards by using DirectX. Through hardware acceleration, they’re able to add new transition and animation effects. They’ve also added a new timelines UI, animations choreography and painter.

Another feature which was highlighted last week, is a new Protected View, which allows PowerPoint and other Office applications to run in a sandbox when downloading and opening presentations from the Internet. This allows potential malicious code to be isolated and contained within the file. More information on that feature can be found over at the Office 2010 Engineering Blog.