Industry Insights – Andrew Edney
Andrew, it’s been a pleasure getting to know you online and via email over the past month or two. As we’ve spoken, and also in reading your website http://usingwindowshomeserver.com, I’ve been able to get a sense for not only your knowledge regarding Windows Home Server and the various pieces and parts that tie into it, but also a sense of your passion for technology. I appreciate being able to interview you and pass that passion along to our readers. So let’s begin shall we?
HSI: I’d like to start out with the basics and give everyone an idea of your background. Do you have employment outside of running this website and if so, what is it that you have done in that career?
Andrew: I’ve been in the IT game now for about 13 or 14 years, and I have worked for companies such as Microsoft and HP, to name a few. I now run my own company, Firebird Consulting, and I do a lot of IT and security consulting for various clients.
HSI: So what prompted you to start the Using Windows Home Server website and when did you start working on it?
Andrew: I started working on the Windows Home Server Users Guide book back in January 2007 and at the time I thought it would be useful to have a blog talking about the book, which came out in October 2007 and the site has just blossomed from there. It’s not just about Windows Home Server anymore, it covers Media Center, hardware, reviews, how to guides, videos and much more.
HSI: I’m assuming that you not only have a Windows Home Server in your home, but most likely also have played with and implemented various other technologies as well. Can you perhaps give us the low-down on your setup at home?
Andrew: Yeah, I think you know me quite well by now. I’ve got a number of Windows Home Servers that are either production models or ones that I use for testing, book writing and article writing. I have a couple of media center machines (I pretty much watch most of my content via my main media center box in the living room). I also have a few games consoles, not that I get much time anymore to play games – it’s all about the site and book writing these days!
HSI: While staying on the topic of Windows Home Server, what do you see happening in this area as time progresses and new versions like the upcoming Windows Home Server “Vail” come into play?
Andrew: I’m hoping that Microsoft will do a better job of telling people that Windows Home Server actually exists and what it can do for them. I am still amazed that after 3 years people still don’t know what it is, that it can do what it can do, and that it’s actually something they can run at home. I would like to see a more integrated setup – I don’t want a Windows Home Server AND a media center box, I want a single box, and one that actually works perfectly together. Give it time, hopefully it will happen
HSI: How do you see technologies like Media Streaming (streaming movies, music, etc.) from the Internet affecting the Home Technologies Industry as a whole?
Andrew: This is a very good question and I think it really depends on a) where you are in the world, and b) what connection speed you have. Certainly for me, on a good day, I can get about 7MB up until about 4pm when my connection drops to something akin to a snail walking slowly backwards…up hill! So for me, streaming from the Internet just wouldn’t work, unless I could schedule when to stream the content and store it locally for playback. I think for those people who can get a good experience it will be a great opportunity to access new (and old) content and as long as a decent pricing model could be found it may be great.
HSI: Do you feel that as people become more aware of, and use streaming media more that it will bring that awareness of technologies like Windows Home Server to the general public?
Andrew: Yes and No Yes, I think it will bring awareness of streaming technologies, but I’m not sure that it will bring Windows Home Server into the forefront of that area.
HSI: Finally, tell us how you think that raising the awareness of the general public about the fact that these technologies are now in reach of the common man and are no longer considered the “rich boy’s toys”, but also that they are also fairly easy to implement, will affect what kind of System Integration we start to seen in people’s homes in the near future?
Andrew: I think that the more people know it can be done, both cheaply and easily; the more people will want to try it and implement it. If we can reduce the number of devices needed that will also go a long way to getting the “wife acceptance factor”. I think having all your digital content stored and available for quick and easy access on any device you want to consume it on is the future!
HSI: Andrew, thanks again for taking the time to do this interview and especially to be Home System Integrations’ first of many interviews as we strive to educate the masses on the types of technology that are literally at their fingertips and how many of the pieces and parts are most likely already in their home. Your viewpoints are certainly very highly regarded and are definitely in step with how we are thinking here at Home System Integration.
I personally am looking forward to a long not only working relationship, but friendship as we expand this community of System Integrators and Home Technology enthusiasts!
I encourage everyone to be sure to stop by Using Windows Home Server often and to also be sure to check out Andrew’s books, especially his book entitled Windows Home Server Users Guide (Experts Voice).