Google for Business Training Classes in Juneau, Alaska

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When you think about the black market, I’m sure the majority of you will think of prohibition days.  When alcohol was made illegal, it did two things: It made the bad guys more money, and it put the average joe in a dangerous position while trying to acquire it.  Bring in the 21stcentury. Sure, there still is a black market… but come on, who is afraid of mobsters anymore? Today, we have a gaming black market. It has been around for years, but will it survive? With more and more games moving towards auction houses, could game companies “tame” the gaming black market?

In the old days of gaming on the internet, we spent most of our online time playing hearts, spades… whatever we could do while connected to the internet. As the years went by, better and better games came about. Then, suddenly, interactive multiplayer games came into the picture. These interactive games, mainly MMORPGS, allowed for characters to pick up and keep randomly generated objects known as “loot”. This evolution of gaming created the black market.

In the eyes of the software companies, the game is only being leased/rented by the end user. You don’t actually have any rights to the game. This is where the market becomes black.  The software companies don’t want you making money of “virtual” goods that are housed on the software or servers of the game you are playing on.  The software companies, at this point, started to get smarter.

Where there is a demand…

As someone who works in many facets of the music industry, I used to seethe with a mixture of anger and jealousy when I would hear people in more “traditional” goods-based industries argue in favor of music content-based piracy. They made all the classic talking points, like “I wouldn’t spend money on this artist normally, and maybe if I like it I’ll spend money on them when they come to town” (which never happened), or “artists are rich and I’m poor, they don’t need my money” (rarely the case), or the worst, “if it were fairly priced and worth paying for, I’d buy it” (not true).  I always wondered if they’d have the same attitude if 63% of the things acquired by customers in their industries weren’t actually paid for, as was conservatively estimated as the case for the music industry in 2009 (other estimations put the figure of pirated music at 95%). Well, we may soon see the answer to curiosities like that. Though one can say with tentative confidence that music piracy is on the decline thanks to services like Spotify and Rdio, it could be looming on the horizon for the entire global, physical supply chain. Yes, I’m talking about 3d printers.

Before I get into the heart of this article, let me take a moment to make one thing clear: I think these machines are incredible. It’s damn near inspiring to think of even a few of their potentially world-changing applications: affordable, perfectly fit prosthetic limbs for wounded servicemen and women; the ability to create a piece of machinery on the spot instead of having to wait for a spare to arrive in the mail, or en route if your car or ship breaks down in a far away place; a company based out of Austin, TX even made a fully functioning firearm from a 3d printer a few months ago.

If these machines become as consumer-friendly and idiot-proof as possible (like computers), it’s possible that in a matter of decades (maybe less), a majority of U.S. households will have their own 3d printer. There’s also the possibility they could take the tech-hobbyist path, one that is much less appealing to the masses. Dale Dougherty of Makezine.com estimates there are currently around 100,000 “personal” 3d printers, or those not owned for business or educational purposes. I don’t think they’ll ever be as ubiquitous as computers, but there are plenty of mechanically inclined, crafty hobbyists out there who would love to play around with a 3d printer if it was affordable enough.

That being said, is there reason to worry about the economic implications of consumers making what they want, essentially for free, instead of paying someone else to produce it? Or will the printers instead be used for unique items more so than replicating and ripping off other companies’ merchandise in mass amounts? The number of people working in industries that would be affected by a development like this is far greater than the number of people who work in content-based industries, so any downturn would probably have a much larger economic implications. Certainly, those times are a ways off, but a little foresightedness never hurt anyone!

Millions of people experienced the frustration and failures of the Obamacare website when it first launched. Because the code for the back end is not open source, the exact technicalities of the initial failings are tricky to determine. Many curious programmers and web designers have had time to examine the open source coding on the front end, however, leading to reasonable conclusions about the nature of the overall difficulties.

Lack of End to End Collaboration
The website was developed with multiple contractors for the front-end and back-end functions. The site also needed to be integrated with insurance companies, IRS servers, Homeland Security servers, and the Department of Veterans Affairs, all of whom had their own legacy systems. The large number of parties involved and the complex nature of the various components naturally complicated the testing and integration of each portion of the project.

The errors displayed, and occasionally the lack thereof, indicated an absence of coordination between the parties developing the separate components. A failed sign up attempt, for instance, often resulted in a page that displayed the header but had no content or failure message. A look at end user requests revealed that the database was unavailable. Clearly, the coding for the front end did not include errors for failures on the back end.

Bloat and the Abundance of Minor Issues
Obviously, numerous bugs were also an issue. The system required users to create passwords that included numbers, for example, but failed to disclose that on the form and in subsequent failure messages, leaving users baffled. In another issue, one of the pages intended to ask users to please wait or call instead, but the message and the phone information were accidentally commented out in the code.

While the front-end design has been cleared of blame for the most serious failures, bloat in the code did contribute to the early difficulties users experienced. The site design was heavy with Javascript and CSS files, and it was peppered with small coding errors that became particularly troublesome when users faced bottlenecks in traffic. Frequent typos throughout the code proved to be an additional embarrassment and were another indication of a troubled development process.

NoSQL Database
The NoSQL database is intended to allow for scalability and flexibility in the architecture of projects that will use it. This made NoSQL a logical choice for the health insurance exchange website. The newness of the technology, however, means personnel with expertise can be elusive. Database-related missteps were more likely the result of a lack of experienced administrators than with the technology itself. The choice of the NoSQL database was thus another complication in the development, but did not itself cause the failures.

Another factor of consequence is that the website was built with both agile and waterfall methodology elements. With agile methods for the front end and the waterfall methodology for the back end, streamlining was naturally going to suffer further difficulties. The disparate contractors, varied methods of software development, and an unrealistically short project time line all contributed to the coding failures of the website.

Another blanket article about the pros and cons of Direct to Consumer (D2C) isn’t needed, I know. By now, we all know the rules for how this model enters a market: its disruption fights any given sector’s established sales model, a fuzzy compromise is temporarily met, and the lean innovator always wins out in the end.

That’s exactly how it played out in the music industry when Apple and record companies created a digital storefront in iTunes to usher music sales into the online era. What now appears to have been a stopgap compromise, iTunes was the standard model for 5-6 years until consumers realized there was no point in purchasing and owning digital media when internet speeds increased and they could listen to it for free through a music streaming service.  In 2013, streaming models are the new music consumption standard. Netflix is nearly parallel in the film and TV world, though they’ve done a better job keeping it all under one roof. Apple mastered retail sales so well that the majority of Apple products, when bought in-person, are bought at an Apple store. That’s even more impressive when you consider how few Apple stores there are in the U.S. (253) compared to big box electronics stores that sell Apple products like Best Buy (1,100) Yet while some industries have implemented a D2C approach to great success, others haven’t even dipped a toe in the D2C pool, most notably the auto industry.

What got me thinking about this topic is the recent flurry of attention Tesla Motors has received for its D2C model. It all came to a head at the beginning of July when a petition on whitehouse.gov to allow Tesla to sell directly to consumers in all 50 states reached the 100,000 signatures required for administration comment. As you might imagine, many powerful car dealership owners armed with lobbyists have made a big stink about Elon Musk, Tesla’s CEO and Product Architect, choosing to sidestep the traditional supply chain and instead opting to sell directly to their customers through their website. These dealership owners say that they’re against the idea because they want to protect consumers, but the real motive is that they want to defend their right to exist (and who wouldn’t?). They essentially have a monopoly at their position in the sales process, and they want to keep it that way. More frightening for the dealerships is the possibility that once Tesla starts selling directly to consumers, so will the big three automakers, and they fear that would be the end of the road for their business. Interestingly enough, the big three flirted with the idea of D2C in the early 90’s before they were met with fierce backlash from dealerships. I’m sure the dealership community has no interest in mounting a fight like that again. 

To say that the laws preventing Tesla from selling online are peripherally relevant would be a compliment. By and large, the laws the dealerships point to fall under the umbrella of “Franchise Laws” that were put in place at the dawn of car sales to protect franchisees against manufacturers opening their own stores and undercutting the franchise that had invested so much to sell the manufacturer’s cars.  There’s certainly a need for those laws to exist, because no owner of a dealership selling Jeeps wants Chrysler to open their own dealership next door and sell them for substantially less. However, because Tesla is independently owned and isn’t currently selling their cars through any third party dealership, this law doesn’t really apply to them. Until their cars are sold through independent dealerships, they’re incapable of undercutting anyone by implementing D2C structure.

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A successful career as a software developer or other IT professional requires a solid understanding of software development processes, design patterns, enterprise application architectures, web services, security, networking and much more. The progression from novice to expert can be a daunting endeavor; this is especially true when traversing the learning curve without expert guidance. A common experience is that too much time and money is wasted on a career plan or application due to misinformation.

The Hartmann Software Group understands these issues and addresses them and others during any training engagement. Although no IT educational institution can guarantee career or application development success, HSG can get you closer to your goals at a far faster rate than self paced learning and, arguably, than the competition. Here are the reasons why we are so successful at teaching:

  • Learn from the experts.
    1. We have provided software development and other IT related training to many major corporations in Alaska since 2002.
    2. Our educators have years of consulting and training experience; moreover, we require each trainer to have cross-discipline expertise i.e. be Java and .NET experts so that you get a broad understanding of how industry wide experts work and think.
  • Discover tips and tricks about Google for Business programming
  • Get your questions answered by easy to follow, organized Google for Business experts
  • Get up to speed with vital Google for Business programming tools
  • Save on travel expenses by learning right from your desk or home office. Enroll in an online instructor led class. Nearly all of our classes are offered in this way.
  • Prepare to hit the ground running for a new job or a new position
  • See the big picture and have the instructor fill in the gaps
  • We teach with sophisticated learning tools and provide excellent supporting course material
  • Books and course material are provided in advance
  • Get a book of your choice from the HSG Store as a gift from us when you register for a class
  • Gain a lot of practical skills in a short amount of time
  • We teach what we know…software
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