Is Zimbra an MS Exchange Killer?

A techie friend just introduced me to Zimbra, he has recently switched his small company from a hosted exchange solution to a hosted ZimbraCS solution. In the UK you can get a hosted Zimbra mailbox for £3.99 per month, for this fee you get an Ajax web client, seamless integration with Outlook and many other webclients. Mobile messaging, some of the solution providers offer support for Blackberry’s some are still working at it. You enjoy shared calendars and a lot of the other collaberative features Exchange offers without the serious support overhead.

Zimbra is still fairly new but has some serious VC muscle behind it so watch this space. My company Redline Software made a concious decision to avoid Exchange due to it’s support overhead and the horror stories that have circulated about corrupt database files and elongated periods of outage were also driving factors. Instead we opted for a simple solution called Mailenable that did a great job as a Pop3 server and integrated nicely with Outlook. We lost out on the collabarative features of Exchange but we were a small company so collabaration wasn’t a big issue for us. We are still using Mailenable but are evaluating ZimbraCS.

Moving ISP from Plusnet to Zen

I have just switched my ISP,  I’ve been with Plusnet for over four years and the first three and a half years the service was excellent. I need an ISP that offers a static IP address so I can host my own personal website and blog. As BT have just bought Plusnet and even though Plusnet are making a lot of noise saying that things aren’t going to change i’m not prepared to be a guinea pig, especially not where BT are involved. I hope i’m wrong and Plusnet sort out their recent support issues.

Plusnet’s loss is Zen internets gain, they offer an 8mb lite package where you get 2GB downloads and 8 static IP addresses for £18 per month. Their reputation for troubleshooting support issues is good but time will tell.

All I had to do to get a MAC code was raise a support ticket at Plusnet and then listen to a salesman for five minutes try and convince me to stay, then sign up at Zen.

Nokia 2610 Review

The nokia 2610 is a great phone if you just want to make phone calls and are not very good at remembering to charge your mobile as it has a claimed battery life of 12 days standby or 3 hours talk time.

For the Nokia technical specs click here

It doesn’t have a camera or bluetooth and it’s cheap, £60 buys the version that can be used with the major networks in the UK, and Orange will do a locked version for £40 pay as you talk The screen is clear but difficult to see in direct sunlight. It has a Built-in hands-free speaker which is important when driving in the UK. As I have only had the phone a few days I will update this post at a later date to give a more detailed account of the 2610.

At last a phone that is cheap and good at one thing.. making phone calls!

Update:
I have been using this phone for over a week now…

The Good Stuff:

  • Battery Life – 7days made / recieved 45 mins
  • Easy to read display
  • Asthetically pleasing
  • small and lightweight
  • Menu easy to navigate
  • The Bad Stuff:

  • Buttons are shiny so fingernails can slide off
  • Button press not very sure
  • Annoyances:

  • When Scrolling quickly through contacts the display doesn’t keep up so it is easy to overshoot and dial the wrong number
  • Menu navigation is bit laggy
  • Futher Update:
    I have been using this phone for well over a year now, no faults and the battery life is still as good as ever. All of the above still applies.

    Organise your RSS feeds on your Google Home Page

    I am probably centuries behind here but today I learnt that you can add rss feeds to your personalised google home page.

    I am a big fan of having control over my homepage, In the past I have written simple HTML pages containing links to the sites I use most often, at work I have used sharepoint which is excellent and allows me to edit links in my browser. I was interested to see if google home page offered the ability to add urls, so far I have not found this with the exception of RSS. If the website has a feed and more and more do then it can be added and will appear much like any other gadget. What is more the last three items in the feed will also be displayed, very cool. To do this click the ‘Add Stuff’ link then click the ‘Add by Url’ icon, then type or paste the url of the feed in and click Add.

    There are multitude of ‘Gadgets’ you can add to your home page, my favourites are the Time, Weather Forecast and the Virgin Radio Tuner, but there are thousands of others.

    Christmas and New Year in Oz

    I spent most of Dec 2006 and a little bit of Jan 2007 in Australia, my wife and I flew into Melbourne on the 9th Dec. It was my first visit and is now my favourite city in Oz. Mebourne is significantly cheaper than Sydney and has a lot more to do than Cairns. A taxi driver told me 4 million people live in and around the city but it didn’t have the in your face crowds of Sydney or London and felt a lot more relaxed. One night we ate on the Tram Car restaurnt that tours round the city whilst serving up meals, the food was good considering the size of the kitchen and we had a good banter with the table next to us, the waiters were friendly, the meal and drinks are all inclusive for Aus$100 / £40 so it wasn’t even expensive.

    A couple of days later we went for a meal at the Flower Drum, which is billed as the best Cantonese restaurant in the southern hemisphere, I have no way to verify the validity of this but the food was fantastic. We booked three months in advance and could only get a thursday night, so book early to avoid disapointment. The highlights of the meal were a waiter arriving  to make your peking duck pancakes for you, the steamed oysters and the beef in black bean sauce which melted in the mouth. The only problem is we wont be able to order a chinese take away for months now we are back home.

    I met up with and old friend David who I hadn’t seen since I was sixteen, he has been living in Melbourne for seven years and graciously he offered to accompany us to a couple of his favourite restaurants. The first was a Japanese restaurant and the second a Vietnamese, the food in both was great and the bill was tiny working out at around £10 a head for lots of food. A lot of the Melbourne restaurants have a BYO licence and a bottle shop nearby, so if you like wine you can afford to spoil yourself a little.

    We also took a Tram down to the beach at Port Melbourne and took a boat down the Yarra river to Williamstown both  trips were pleasant if not eventful. Kilda beach is also a short tram ride away and has a lively night life and a nice beach and some good shops. We stayed in the Langham Hotel in Southbank which is 5star and was only Aus$200 / £80 a night, the hotel was great the staff were friendly and it was well located for exploring the city, it also has really nice terrace with a pool overlooking the Yarra river, I would highly recommend it.

    After eight days in Melbourne we flew up to Byron Bay for christmas, Bryon is a chilled seaside town with a beautiful beach a few nice restaurants and good pubs and bars, the beach is ranked in the top 25 beaches around the world, and the people are great and very laid back. There are lots of surfers and you can go on dolphin / whale / turtle watching tours if that’s your thing. Byron is a great place to sit back and do very little except sunbathe and drink beer. We stayed in the Beachcomber motel on Shirly St, it was plesant enough but the motels and appartments on Lawson St looked nicer, maybe they are more expensive though.

    The last part of the holiday was Sydney, we were staying at the Novotel that overlooks Darling harbour, this is a 4star hotel and it doesn’t have any frills, we booked harbour view room which is worth the extra dosh as the Sydney skyline is impressive. Darling harbour is a good place to stay if you are holidaying in Sydney, you are a ten minute walk from the shopping district and you can take a boat into Circular Quay (next to Sydney Opera House) the trip only takes ten minutes. A friend of my was getting married on the 29th December, the reception was out past watsons bay, it was a great wedding and I got very drunk.

    We were also in Sydney for new years eve and had booked table on a cruise boat so that we could eat, drink, be merry and watch the fireworks in comfort. This was expensive Aus$500 / £200 a head but we firgured it was unlikely we would repeat the experience any time soon. The food was good the beer / champagne kept flowing and the fireworks were impressive.

    Alas it was all over so soon, fortunately my wife gave me tickets to Thailand for christmas so I only have to wait till April to see the sun again.