NetFlix in countries where Netflix is not availabe yet

As i stated in tweet a while back: Netflix (or likewise) is probably the best way to fight illegal downloads from Torrent sites or newsgroups. In my mind it will be more effective than what the organizations like BREIN over here in the Netherlands are trying to do. Netflix however is not (yet) available in every country if you live in one of those countries visiting Netflix.com will tell you so and you can’t create a trial account or subscription.

There is a solution follow these steps:

  1. DNS (re)routing
  2. Netflix account

DNS (re)Routing

You’ll need  DNS entries in your PC or TV (or better yet in your router) to make Netflix believe you are living in the USA. To do so you go to unblock-us.com and sign-up for the 7 day trial DNS entries. You’ll receive an email with two DNS addresses that you need to configure in you TV, PC or router. If you add the to the router all your devices in the network will be able to access Netflix if you add them to a PC or TV only that device will be able to access Netflix. How to configure the addresses in your TV PC or Router can be found on the site (unblock-us.com) as well for most mainstream routers at least. Otherwise search for it on the internet chances are someone has already done it using the same router you own.

Netflix account

After configuring the DNS in your router or device use that device to goto Netflix.com if you still get the message that Netflix is not available in your country you didn’t configure the DNS correctly. If you get the welcome screen that invites you to sign up for a 30 day trial (you successfully setup the DNS) proceed and create the account. One additional step here is that in the wizard you will be prompted to leave a credit card number or to use PayPal. PayPal doesn’t work  Netflix apparently only accepts PayPal payments from US (if you do try PayPal anyway when you submit the payment the screen will tell you). The credit card option forces you to add a zip code (your own won’t work!) you’ll need to enter a valid US zip code (any will do but you can find a simple trick right here: support.unblock-us.com/customer/portal/articles/291505) after these steps your done.

Your setup with a 7 day US DNS trial account, and a 30 day Netflix trial account. You will have to actually purchase DNS entries after 7 these 7 days to continue using the service (and Netflix). The DNS entries will cost you 5,00 $ a month and Netflix 8,00 $ a month. So for 13$ you’ll have access to unlimited movies tv shows and more.

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Cloud is the Conservative Choice

How Migrating your Infrastructure to the Cloud Improves Security, Productivity and Business Continuity

Existing infrastructures today are hugely varied, due to (where applicable) on-going acquisition efforts but certainly the complexities of the business. Infrastructures today require substantial resources to maintain, secure and monitor. Unless you are an IT company, IT infrastructure is not your primary business – but for instance legal or financial services are. Moving to Cloud-based infrastructure represents the most conservative, risk-adverse approach to providing the services required for your company to effectively serve its partners, employees and customers.

The Cloud is Not All New

The moniker “cloud computing” is a recent invention, but the bulk of what is today called cloud is not actually new – it is a rebranding of ISPs and hosting services. There are new products that are part of the cloud movement that are new, primarily elastic computing – technology that dynamically scales computing according to need. These new technologies should be evaluated but are not required in the current effort to secure the infrastructure of your company.

The Cloud Is Not “All or Nothing”

With a variety of services available under the cloud moniker, customers are able to pick-and-choose what services they wish to use. This opens the door to hybrid cloud models where part of the service lives in the cloud, part in hosted services and part in servers owned by the organization.

Hybrid Cloud Supports Jurisdictional Compliance

The hybrid cloud model represents the most effective solution to dealing with jurisdictional compliance challenges in certain countries. Current generation cloud offerings do not offer sufficient control to support jurisdictional compliance. In these scenarios, services hosted in the country in question support jurisdictional compliance while still providing interoperability with cloud services as well as on-premise servers.

Building a Conservative Infrastructure

Within any distributed infrastructure, each and every server represents a liability: physical security, content security, maintenance and monitoring. Often these servers are on-premise.

A conservative and risk-adverse infrastructure for your company minimizes the number of servers it owns utilizing the hybrid-cloud model. Services that do not have jurisdictional compliance issues in particular countries should operate in the cloud. Services with country-specific jurisdictional compliance issues should be operating on a hosted server in the country in question. Where these hosting services do not exist, your company should place a server in a co-location facility in the country. Only when none of these options are available should the server actually be hosted on the office premises.

When applied to email, this hybrid cloud design requires Office 365. Office 365 is SAS70 and ISO27001 compliant. Office 365 is Exchange 2010, so where Office 365 is not an option due to jurisdictional compliance, Exchange 2010 can be utilized as a hosted service or on your own server.

A conversation with Ron Markezich, Corporate Vice President of Online Services at Microsoft offers this:

“Office 365 is in beta today, but it will be generally available this year. Exchange Online in Office 365 has 50M users from educational institutions provisioned today – we brought to market early for educational institutions under Live@edu.

Office 365 is the next version of BPOS. BPOS runs on Exchange 2007 and SharePoint 2007. Office 365 runs on Exchange 2010, SharePoint 2010 and Lync. We also add MS Office to Office 365 which did not exist in BPOS. The support processes, platform is the same – just the core server technology is being upgraded. We wanted to get a better name than BPOS and locked on Office 365.”


Are IT companies the only ones that can benefit from the cloud?

When I listen and read about cloud computing, the thing I notice is that it is all very tech centric. It is almost as if the IT business is the only one that can take advantage of this “new” technology that is at our disposal. But is that really the case or are there other beneficiaries?

As stated in my previous post on cloud computing (Is cloud computing leveling the playing field?) the IT companies, as well as, both SMEs and their bigger counterparts, can benefit from cloud computing. In reality, there are many more companies that can and will benefit from cloud computing. Traditionally, however, they lean on their IT partner(s) to get their IT landscape shaped and maintained. As long as they didn’t switch or saw the light it might take a while before the benefits of cloud computing will be obvious to them.

Customers of the IT partners usually have no interest in IT other than cost cutting and gaining functionality at high level. If they were tech savvy enough, they most likely wouldn’t need an IT partner to get their IT up and running and maintained. Platforms like BPOS and Google apps are starting to make their way to the attention of the customers, and are therefore gaining momentum.

The other cloud opportunities, like SQL-Azure and Windows-Azure platform, are not at that level yet. Once they are exposed to these capabilities it is my strong belief that it will drive their entrepreneurial spirit and it will drive innovation in their industries. Nowadays IT is a part of almost anything we do in life, but since the cost are still pretty high it is blocking innovation as well.

Cloud computing and the pay as you go billing associated with it will break down these barriers. IT will become the enabler of innovations beyond its own territory, which in the end will increase employment and drive economic growth. In the IT industry we have claimed for years that IT should be an enabler and not a driver. It however hasn’t been – and in cases where it has been, it was an expensive one.

It is my strong belief that many shelved ideas can be brought to life when the cloud benefits are exposed and shared with our customer base. The jobs of IT people will change from the geek that writes incoherent English in his editor to the business consultant with domain knowledge of one or more industries. He/ she happens to have incoherent English as an additional skill set to make computers do what the customer has dreamt up.

Business agility and innovation are the real benefits for our customers.  The customers in return will make our jobs way more interesting, because we get to participate in their domain and build a real partnership. I can see an exciting future that will be driven by cloud computing. Cloud computing without a doubt is a game changing shift. What the PC was to the mainframe, cloud computing is to the server / data center world and – who knows – maybe even for the PC in the longer term. The funny thing however is that the most resistance against cloud computing comes from the IT companies.

History repeats itself: the mainframe mini world also predicted chaos and anarchy when the PC gained momentum. We all know how that went…


Is cloud computing leveling the playing field?

Leveling the playing field is a huge challenge to live up to. There has been statements about technologies like this before but they always somehow kept the SME’s out of the playing field. Is cloud computing different from it predecessors and is it a real playing field leveler for the SME’s?

Server virtualization and outsourcing to data centers didn’t really do it for the SME’s in those scenario’s there still is a huge investment upfront. It is less but still an investment that cannot be pre financed by many SME’s. This is where the bigger companies still have the better cards to win a deal over a SME. This is aside of the required knowledge to actually setup and maintain these virtual environments.

The data center outsourcing and/or virtualization furthermore lacks agility this is true for the companies that are able to go this route as for the SME’s. Cloud computing takes away this roadblock since the whole platform is outsourced in a public cloud scenario, installing and maintaining virtual environments is no longer a concern. On top of that pay as you go scenario means no upfront investment.

SME’s can now promise  (potential) customers a fully redundant highly available and scalable platform. This enables them to compete with the big guys based on both price and domain knowledge. Bids that in the pre cloud era went to the one that had the best overall proposition are gone. Platform wise the SME can compete with the big companies.

As far as the domain knowledge goes that’s hard to say but the buyer can now focus on selecting the bid based on the exposed domain knowledge. This makes the comparison of the bids way more accessible and transparent.

On the question does cloud computing level the playing field i’d say yes it does from a technology standpoint. Are big customers comfortable enough to go with an SME over its bigger competitor? Will the era of shortlists and prefered suppliers have passed? I don’t know i think it will take a while before these old habits have died too. Will we ever reach that state i am convinced we will. It will take a couple of good examples and marketing buzz from cloud offering parties like Google, Amazon, Microsoft before the buyer is ready to make that step.


Drivers for Master Data

This is the first post in a series on the topic of Master Data. I hope you’ll enjoy the series.
We are increasingly more connected in may different ways. The amount of data we are exposed to seems to have exploded. Organizations need to be as agile as they can to survive in this competitive eco system or in trying to get the competitive edge in their industry. The data organizations are exposed to is largely redundant and sometimes even conflicting. However we do recognize that information sharing and operational collaboration is and important factor to be(come) succesful.

Business applications till this very day are designed to meet specific business needs. Due to this vertical focus, these verticals all need their own: Data definitions, dictionaries table structures fitting the functionality they provide. All of it designed with the business vertical in mind. As a result the “enterprise” is a compositions of applications relying on disparate sets of data. Data quality control mainly resides with line of business management (The vertical).

If the data described is only used as fuel for the operation within the vertical the likelihood of running into issues is very low. However if there is a desire to transform data into information and actionable knowledge that’s where the challenge starts. This is where it becomes apparent that the “enterprise” needs a consistent view on its data drawn from many different data sets.

To use information for both operational and analytical processes the “enterprise” must be able to clearly define its business objectives and concepts. This has to be done before they will be able integrate its data consistent view across the organization.

The real master data challenge starts at that exact point. How to organize and enterprise view and govern the data quality of the business (data) objects. Once successfully done these optimized information objects can then be used to pursue operational, analytical and strategic business objectives across the enterprise.