theXS' Blog, Posts, Talk, etc...

Directory for GApps: important update with no new features

posted Oct 2, 2014, 12:58 PM by Faustino Rodriguez   [ updated Oct 5, 2014, 4:04 PM ]

We have already published (Oct.4, 2014) an important update (version 1.101sv49) to xsDirectory App (Shared Contacts Directory for your Domain on Google Apps), including some changes on the code accordingly with Google deprecation notice, for Scriptdb, GroupsManager and UserManager classes.

After the upgrade, all xsDirectory App's current users should open the App and complete the authorization process again, because the new functions, even though similar, will trigger different permissions. To access the App you can go to your Browser Apps page and click on xsDirectory icon, or directly through this link.

Notes about the changes within xsDirectory code,
- Scriptdb has been used as the web app store, holding licence information and settings. It will be replaced by an external Db on Parse.com
- GroupsManager for reading group members associated with each contacts book. It will be replaced by Admin SDK Directory Groups and Members.
- UserManager for reading domain user email address just to allow for * (add all users) as members of a group. It will be replaced by Admin SDK Directory Users.

The previous permissions and App actions related with these functions were:
* Manage users on your domain 
reading domain user email address just to allow for * (add all users) as members of a group
* Manage groups on your domain
reading group members associated with each contacts book

The new permissions  and App actions related with these functions are now instead:
View users on your domain
reading domain user email address just to allow for * (add all users) as members of a group
* View groups on your domain
reading groups list for the App user to associate with each contact book
* View group subscriptions on your domain
reading group members associated with each contacts book

The wicked weakest App in Google Apps

posted Sep 11, 2013, 9:03 AM by Faustino Rodriguez   [ updated Sep 11, 2013, 10:51 AM ]

Even though I keep a current list of "What I dislike about Google Apps (GApps)?", I would like to put together a few ideas about the #1 in my list: Shared Contacts across the Domain.

Well, we are Google Apps reseller and I am always promoting and showing the benefits and features of Cloud Computing using Google Apps for your Business, however when it comes to this topic - Shared Contacts - I choke a bit and have to look around for alternatives on something that should be part of Google Apps fabric.

Current Google approach to Shared Contacts under Directory looks to me an incomplete, inconsistent and cumbersome solution for sharing contacts. Mostly because there is no actual contacts address books for sharing with different access levels across domain users and groups.

Shared Contacts "App" current limitations:
  1. No contacts books (like contacts lists for grouping and organization, ex. Partners, Customers, Vendors)
  2. No access levels by user groups, differentiating none, view and edit permissions.
  3. Read only access for every user from Contacts User interface (Ui) under Directory folder - even though you can edit the contact's info, it won't be saved (this glitch brings some hope though).
  4. Adding / editing Shared Contacts is only possible through a separate Script or App from your own Organization or from a third party provider

How could Google fix Shared Contacts App:
  1. Adding Contacts App new functionality to the Admin console, allowing for definition of contacts books and sharing them for view or edit with users and groups within the Domain.
  2. Showing these contacts books as folders hanging from the Directory folder on Contacts, allowing for view or edit as per user's permission.
Current workaround choices in the meantime:
  1. For very small organizations Delegated Contacts might be a choice although with serious limitations.
  2. Third party Apps usually running outside your domain and mostly using Shared Contacts, what brings all its shortcomings.
  3. We are currently working in a Directory App (still in beta) running and keeping the data within the domain, showing contacts books as labels (contacts groups) hanging from My Contacts on each user with access.


Backup notes for this post:
Contacts is about personas or in other words persons, roles, uses and visibility

Currently on different levels and mostly disconnected:
- administration: domain users, organizational units, 
- domain: shared contacts (domain directory), domain groups, 
- user: user's contacts, contact's groups, 
- social: g+ circles, g+ communities

What are these groups good for?
- domain groups: sharing, forum, scripting
- contact's groups: visual organization (labels), scripting
- g+ circles/communities: social interactions

What I dislike about Google Apps (GApps)?

posted Sep 9, 2013, 7:50 AM by Faustino Rodriguez   [ updated Sep 25, 2013, 7:05 AM ]

I might have said what is missing, what is lacking, but I rather keep it personal and also as a sorted and dynamic draft (*)
Here is my short list on what I dislike about GApps?
  1. Shared Contacts across the Domain: Incomplete, inconsistent, cumbersome solution for sharing contacts. No actual contacts address books for sharing with different access levels across domain users and groups.

  2. Document to Pdf issue: when downloading a document as a Pdf (or emailing as a Pdf attachment) the format got wrong - luckily when printing / saving to Google Drive it's fine.

  3. Current default Gmail Inbox view by categories: Great idea with two major flaws, not showing unread messages on each category (just the most recent) and no easy way of showing unread first within each category.

  4. The new hangout widget in Gmail instead of previous standard chat that allows you to call a computer, among other features. (still using the old chat, do you?)

  5. No columns option in Google Docs Documents: Simple, there is no columns format when creating a document in Google Docs.

  6. No comments on posts in Google Sites: Only users with edit access can comment in a Google Site page. It would be much better if any authenticated user with view access can comment.
(*) I will keep this list updated as I change my mind or Google Apps does better, and also include my clients and collegues feedback.

How good is your backup and disaster recovery plan?

posted Mar 7, 2013, 12:44 PM by Faustino Rodriguez

At the time of recovery is when we actually know if we had a good backup and disaster recovery (BDR) plan, but we should not wait that long to figure it out, because it might be too late then if it were not that good.

Let’s try a simple questionnaire: IF you answer NO to any of these four questions, you should consider a review of your current backup and disaster recovery plan, as soon as possible:
  1. IF you delete an important file or email, can you get it back?
  2. IF you change a document by mistake, can you recover a previous version?
  3. IF your computer or laptop is lost or broken, can you restore all your data?
  4. IF your office is in a disaster situation (thief, fire, flood), can you recover all your information?
We can help you on the evaluation of your current plan, just Call for Free Consultation.

Remember, DATA is the lifeblood of your Business.

ps. Most Small Business don’t have a comprehensive backup and disaster recovery solution. 
But also, most of them won’t recover from a major IT disaster.

xsQuaestor: new Google+ Users Community for feedback, support and sharing

posted Feb 18, 2013, 8:46 AM by Faustino Rodriguez

We have recently created a new xsQuaestor Google+ Users Community for feedback, support and sharing around and about xsQuaestor App, for Managing your Proposals, Offers, Quotes, Estimates and many other Documents.
We will soon discontinue the Feedback option within the Chrome web Store, currently broken, with the idea to provide a better feedback and support. while also tap into the xsQuaestor growing Users Community for sharing ideas and tips on using this App.
Be one of the first to join this xsQuaestor Users Community and share your questions, feedback or just report a bug.
For Reviews on xsQuaestor App we will keep using the Chrome Web Store Reviews page.
We will be sending a formal invitation to each xsQuaestor User from our Google+ account in the next few days, but you don't have to wait, 



xsMerge: new Google+ Users Community for feedback, support and sharing

posted Feb 14, 2013, 4:02 PM by Faustino Rodriguez   [ updated Feb 14, 2013, 4:18 PM ]

We have recently created a new xsMerge Google+ Users Community for feedback, support and sharing around and about xsMerge App, the Ultimate Always-Free Merging Toolbox within Google Apps.
We will soon discontinue the Feedback option within the Chrome web Store, currently broken, with the idea to provide a better feedback and support. while also tap into the xsMerge growing Users Community for sharing ideas and tips on using this App.
Be one of the first to join this xsMerge Users Community and share your questions, feedback or just report a bug.
For Reviews on xsMerge App we will keep using the Chrome Web Store Reviews page.
We will be sending a formal invitation to each xsMerge User from our Google+ account in the next few days, but you don't have to wait, 


Mail Merge App Free: Monetizing Opportunity

posted Feb 4, 2013, 10:57 AM by Faustino Rodriguez   [ updated Feb 4, 2013, 11:05 AM ]

xsMerge
App is referred as an Advanced Free Mail Merge tool, and it is that indeed.

However there is an important Monetizing Opportunity around this xsMerge App for Google Apps Resellers, Google Apps Specialists and IT Consultants on Google Apps.

Deploying, customizing and getting the most out of this App for your Google Apps Clients would represent a great deal of help for them and a monetizing opportunity for you, as the GApps expert.

We are willing to support for Free any reseller who wanted to take advantage of this opportunity.
It's a win-win scenario, because we will also increase our visibility as a Google Apps Script solutions expert, and maybe even get some new custom Apps to develop for you and your clients.

xsMerge is the Ultimate Always-Free Merging Toolbox within Google Apps.

More details on xsMerge App here http://www.thexs.ca/xsmerge

Cloud adoption: objections becoming advantages

posted Jan 14, 2013, 4:10 AM by Faustino Rodriguez

After finishing a presentation with some of my clients about Cloud Computing, their main objections were security and privacy and this is usually the major concern among business owners.

There are countless references on both topics from this simple approach to a more detailed explanation about Google Apps security and privacy.


However, I have found two references that show how these objections are becoming advantages, from the less expected, security from the military and privacy from a large international bank.
  1. As you can see on this publication (eWeek) the US military (NSA) counts on the Cloud to Boost Cyber-Security as a key part of the intelligence community’s IT strategy.
  2. And just a major bank from Spain (BBVA) signed with Google Apps for his 110K staff with goals in innovation, decisions making and productivity.
Cloud Computing is effective and affordable for Small Business and seeing how the Enterprise is embracing this technology, I would strongly recommend to SMB owners considering the adoption of some form of Cloud Computing early this year with goals in data security, integration and collaboration.

TEI of GApps: The Total Economic Impact of Google Apps

posted Jan 7, 2013, 6:58 PM by Faustino Rodriguez   [ updated Jan 8, 2013, 6:32 AM ]

Google has worked with Forrester Consulting to refresh their Total Economic Impact (TEI) study for Google Apps. The objective was to quantify the collaboration benefits in addition to the IT/maintenance cost savings for Google Apps deployments. 

You can access the full report here to discover all the findings, methodology, and profile of businesses surveyed. 

Even though the study refers to enterprises adopting Google Apps after having managed a traditional on-premise messaging and collaboration environment, it also applies to Small Medium Business taking the advantage of this Enterprise-class solution.

The survey and interviews about Google Apps and the subsequent financial analysis identified several key takeaways for organizations migrating to a cloud-based messaging and collaboration environment. Key findings are summarized and commented below:
  1. Apps risk-adjusted ROI: 329%.
  2. NPV: more than 20x the investment in change management, testing, piloting, and initial support.
  3. Payback (break-even) period: 1.4 months
  4. End user productivity gains were 3x larger than IT cost savings.
  5. Internal Collaboration Efficiency had the most significant economic impact out of all benefits.
  6. The switch to Google Apps was usually driven by replacing or augmenting an existing email solution.
  7. End users familiar with cloud-based personal email transitioned more smoothly to using Google Apps at work.
  8. In addition to fixed monthly billing, the majority of IT users noted the key benefit of reduction in maintenance costs for a prior messaging platform.
Cost saving is evident and usually a driver in adoption, however more important in my view are the benefits: see below the end user benefits highlighted from this study:

End user benefits. Migrating an organization’s messaging and collaboration environment to Google Apps
included the following specific end user benefits:
  • Messaging benefits: These included productivity gains around email search and spam filtering.
  • Collaboration benefits: These included improved efficiency of sharing and editing documents across teams and within teams, faster ability to incorporate feedback, more efficient face-to-face and virtual meetings, and pushing more timely and relevant information to distributed teams.
  • Individual productivity benefits: These included a new category focused on synergies and time saved by working with different apps within Google, as opposed to shifting between Google Apps and other software. Mobility benefits like convenience also fall into this group, highlighting the value of bring-your-own-device (BYOD) strategies.


Notes and Acronyms:
TEI: Total Economic Impact, ROI: Return Of Investment, NPV: Net Present Value
* Similar Study from 2010 can be found here

20121221 moving forward

posted Dec 18, 2012, 7:36 AM by Faustino Rodriguez

The countdown is running thin already and just in case I am writing this short post.

Sometime ago I read a very good collection of "theories" around the end of Mayan Calendar cycle, very entertaining and enlightening, both, even though not conclusive, and that was the best part, right? >> "not accepted by mainstream scholarship"

As long as Humanity at large would benefit from some sort of Enlightening Shift, associating this "Galactic Alignment" if that's the case, with such a positive shift is at the very least a sign of a good intention.

We have seen major shifts in the presumable history of the Universe and just watching the World news, it seems we are due for such a new shift: would it be a breakdown or a breakthrough?

So far, the most important events around me for that 20121221 day are a few:
  • I am taking the Google Apps Certified Sales Specialist Exam, wish me good luck
  • Somebody I dearly love is travelling in Italy
  • Finishing up a Proof of Concept around Google Apps for Professional Real Estate Agents
  • A special weekend is about to start that night
  • and That's it
Moving forward after 20121221 into the year 2013, I will be focusing even more in Cloud Computing Solutions for Small Medium Business using Google Apps with emphasis on building Apps within, using Google Apps Script

If you are still reading this, I hope to help you in 2013 with your IT challenges.

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