Nathan McQuillen's profile

Nathan McQuillen

Nathan McQuillen verified_user

Information Technology, Research, Advertising and Product Development at Brooklyn Motoren Werke, Inc.
Madison, Wisconsin Area
Member since 23rd of March, 2016
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Areas of expertise
Areas of expertise are based on top categories of reviewed apps.
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Company

Brooklyn Motoren Werke, Inc.

Current position

Information Technology, Parts Sales

CrashPlan Reviews
Easy, automatic cloud business backup
Dropbox Reviews
File syncing, storage & sharing platform
Drupal Reviews
Open Source Content Management Platform
Evernote Reviews
Create, capture & access everyday notes on mobile devices
iCloud Reviews
Multi-device cloud content storage
IFTTT Reviews
Web app integration platform
Webroot® Reviews
Smarter Cybersecurity® Services & Solutions
No apps.
OmniGraffle Reviews
Diagramming tool

Flexible, powerful, somewhat quirky OS X native Visio alternative  starstarstarstarstar  2016-03-29

OmniGraffle is marketed largely as an OS X native alternative to Visio, but it shines as a separate product in its own right, and a perfect accompaniment to Adobe CS for technical drawing. It's fine for all those Visio-ish things, org charts and information maps and whatever else, but I mostly use it for circuit diagrams and other 2-D technical drawings, and it works very well for these purposes.

 Pros

Flexible units, canvas sizes, pen colors, objects, magnet positions, routing algorithms, etc.; it does pretty much anything you'd expect, and then some. The ability to specify double lines with outline and gap color is especially useful for my purposes: automotive wiring diagrams where wires often have a main color and one or two tracer colors. I also use OmniGraffle for diagramming fluid flow in fuel and cooling systems. It's great for all such symbolic diagramming.

 Cons

Object libraries are a bit wanting, as are the tools for drawing custom objects (I prefer to draw custom objects in Illustrator, and import them). But that's about it.

Rating breakdown

starstarstarstarstar  Value for money
starstarstarstarstar_border  Ease of use

Time used

1-2 years

Webroot® Reviews
Smarter Cybersecurity® Services & Solutions

Speed, but with sacrifices.  starstarstarstar_borderstar_border  2016-03-29

I've used Webroot Endpoint Protection for a little over two years. I've found every aspect of the product to be excellent except (and this is a big except) actual detection of threats, and client speed on OS X systems. Webroot allowed several common worms through at my client's location, and did not detect them on a standard Windows 7 installation, even on repeated scans, after I was able to confirm that the infected downloads and compromised .dll files were within the scope of protection. Needless to say, this did not inspire confidence. I wound up using a Kaspersky live stick to remove the infections, and installing a realtime threat detection system using Suricata and ClamAV to meet the data security needs of our clients and ensure we were meeting the obligations of our contracts.

 Pros

Very easy to use and deploy, administrative console allows excellent granular controls of client privileges, scope of protection, and endpoint groups. Integrates with Windows server products for deployment (though I use Samba instead, so this was not an option), and provides a centralized point for administrator notification and action when compromised/infected systems are detected. Client seems relatively fast and works on multiple platforms, though see below re. OS X.

 Cons

In my experience, Webroot, though the exposed end is fast and well-designed, does not reliably block or detect common threats. This is obviously a Big Deal in a product billed as enterprise-grade antivirus/antimalware. One employee at the affected client's office was able to download three separate third-party software installers containing malware payloads on a Saturday, install them, and work for a full weekend before I arrived back on Monday to complaints that her machine was being "slow and weird". I discovered that Webroot, though fully deployed and set to monitor downloads, warn on browsing, and scan the affected directories, simply had not alerted on anything. At that point, it doesn't matter how beautiful the interface may be: antimalware software which lets common malware through is essentially useless. Also, while there is an OS X client, it's buggy and slow. It causes problems with network browsing and network virtualization with both VirtualBox and VMware Fusion, and it results, for some reason, in systemwide UI slowdowns, which suggest to me that there may be some elemental problems with the codebase: use of deprecated APIs, memory leaks, etc.—not usable.

Rating breakdown

starstarstarstar_borderstar_border  Value for money
starstarstarstarstar  Ease of use
starstarstarstarstar_border  Customer support

Time used

1-2 years

Drupal Reviews
Open Source Content Management Platform

Powerful CMS with enormous flexibility but an uncertain future  starstarstarstarstar_border  2016-03-24

I've been using Drupal since version 5, in 2007, and I rely on it for approximately half the sites I manage. It's enormously powerful, can be customized in any conceivable manner, and offers a vast array of modules and themes, most free. This power and flexibility comes at the price of a complex codebase, however, which can be slow to render and subject to database corruption. Drupal also suffers from a fixed release structure with dramatic architectural changes between releases, meaning that updating heavily customized Drupal sites to new major versions is not much less involved than adopting a new CMS framework altogether.

 Pros

You can do anything with Drupal. Some things are even easy: setting up a basic blog is trivial, plenty of options are available for turnkey themes, and many third-party modules exist to rapidly turn Drupal into a solid framework for everything from e-commerce to social media aggregation to academic collaboration. When it works, it works well, and caching modules exist for every version to defray some of the CPU overhead generated by its large codebase.

 Cons

Drupal's development community has opted for a fixed rather than a rolling release structure, which means admins performing major version updates incur a steep upgrade penalty in terms of changes to add-on options, basic code, and theme engines. From version 6 to the new version 8, Drupal has changed virtually everything, and as a result, many deployed users linger on increasingly insecure older versions, while many module developers and third-party integration teams have abandoned Drupal altogether as a result of the ongoing investment necessary to stay abreast of codebase changes. Finally, Drupal's own documentation is fragmentary and often self-contradictory, which can make educating oneself extremely time-consuming.

Rating breakdown

starstarstarstarstar  Value for money
starstarstarstar_borderstar_border  Ease of use
starstarstarstar_borderstar_border  Customer support

Time used

1-2 years

CrashPlan Reviews
Easy, automatic cloud business backup

Excellent backup engine for any platform.   starstarstarstarstar  2016-03-23

The CrashPlan architecture allows versioning, continuous backup on OS X, Windows, and Linux desktop clients, and Code42 offers PROe private cloud servers for each of these platforms as well. I've used CrashPlan PROe (private cloud server with standard CrashPlan client) for three years, in multiple small business settings. It's a five star product, with five star support, but a few small but persistent browser compatibility issues, and one major licensing problem, keep it from earning all five stars from me.

 Pros

Installing, maintaining, and updating the PROe server is trivial on both Debian Linux and OS X. (One-click updates directly from the administrative console would be a nice addition, since locating update files on the Code42 site is not as quick as it perhaps should be, but that's a minor nuisance). Likewise, installing and configuring clients is fast and easy, and once the client software is installed on a workstation, the administrative console allows control of all client settings, saving legwork. Client access can be restricted to ensure that backups are not interrupted, and CrashPlan PROe has a complete set of legal hold tools available in a separate administrative interface should your organization require them. The client is lightweight and offers good granular control over bandwidth use. The server is extremely flexible, allowing any number of storage points on any number of running servers, even across server platforms, and the CrashPlan architecture further allows any client to be delegated as a storage point for other clients, in the case of, for instance, a satellite office scenario, disaster recovery, or server maintenance.

 Cons

The only real operating nuisance I've encountered is browser incompatibility with the otherwise lovely administrative console, which does not scale properly for Mobile Safari, and which presents a baffling "server disconnect" message on Safari for OS X. On the desktop, one can simply use Firefox or Chrome, but a proper mobile Safari theme--or even the ability to permanently eliminate the client download prompt when accessing the console from a mobile browser--would be a huge improvement for those of us who do an increasing amount of our admin tasks from our mobile devices. The ugly is that this wonderfully designed, private cloud backup system, which was once my first choice for small business clients, is now available only in packages of 25 licenses and up. Not only does this make no sense from a supply side—Code42 incurs no storage or infrastructure overhead from private cloud backup, so one would think they would prefer to sell these licenses—but it arbitrarily shuts out small businesses from a product which is otherwise perfect for the small business use case, forcing these businesses, often creative firms which generate multiple gigabytes of new data each hour, to rely on Code42's public cloud product (try uploading 2 terabytes on virtually any broadband connection in the US) or, more realistically, to look elsewhere for onsite backup solutions. I used to recommend CrashPlan PROe to all my small business clients. I can no longer do so, not because the product is not excellent—it is—but because Code42 literally will not sell it to them if they can't buy 25 or more licenses. The mind boggles at whatever bean-counterish logic led to this decision, which both locks small businesses out of an otherwise ideal product for their needs, and amounts to Code42 throwing away all potential revenue from those in the small business sector who cannot rely on public cloud backup alone. I'd encourage small businesses and consultants working with small business to contact Code42 anyway, and put some pressure on them to revise this policy. CrashPlan PROe is otherwise as close to a perfect product as I have seen in the last ten years of IT, and it is simply foolish to refuse to sell it because a client has a smaller budget or smaller needs.

Rating breakdown

starstarstarstarstar  Value for money
starstarstarstarstar  Ease of use
starstarstarstarstar  Customer support

Time used

1-2 years

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