Essay: The future of the tablet.

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There is a great article today in the business section of the Washington Post talking about the tablet wars. I have had the opportunity to play with a number of the tablets for extended time periods and I have to say overall I agree with the article. Tablets are replacing laptops at a rapid rate.

For example, Monday evening every news station in the DC area was covering Hurricane Sandy. Which of course they should have. Some of them were using iPad’s and airplay to show interactive maps on the screen for us to consume as viewers.

It brings me full circle back to my blog of a few days ago talking about the concept of the screen as a service (which channel 9 showed very nicely Monday evening Kudo’s!!!) and the concept of the device as a point of integration.

That argument remains my contention of SOA 3.0. The reality that our devices will become points of convergence and integration. Everyone always drops back to compute power and cloud computing (unless you’re a developer then you argue about computer less applications (or have a bigger box that hosts your application and call it server less).

Integration (the ability to pull the data in from a variety of resources) and convergence (the ability to interact with the data in a way that is effective) will drive the future solutions.

Applications today don’t take advantage of the power available. They can’t do effective screen jumping (screen to screen jumping based on user choice not available functions). Some applications today take advantage of truly distributed processing but few are able to actually do that on the fly.

I believe the future of the tablet is that ability to bring together the sources (integration) and resources for consumption (convergence) into a unified cross platform package that is application independent.

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Connectors everywhere and seriously do we need that many?

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To connect. We used to in middle school and high school conjugate verbs in Spanish (and French – I took 1 semester of French many years ago). Connect would be broken into two works the familiar and the formal. I think that sadly is what is happening in the computer world as well right now. We have the informal personal able connections (Micro USB) and everything else.

  • Apple has two connectors now.
  • Samsung has one, but their connector like the apple connector is bulky and frustrating.
  • Google and Microsoft seem to have both adapted to the microusb solutions.

Which brings me to the concept of universality in connections. The number of connectors you have to have is frustrating (HMDI, Mini HDMI vs all the other types of video in and out cables). Audio cables (RCA versus 2.5 mm) it just becomes frustrating over time because there are so many different connectors you have to have.

Of course in fairness to the organizations that make the connections they often don’t have the luxury of working with other companies or for that matter sometimes they need to have a uniqueness to their connector so that they can create a niche in the market.

Still…

Connections are frustrating guys. Cables are bulky and frankly having one device that allows me to keep all my other devices charged would be a value add.

How far would the phone company have come if we had multiple connectors for telephones. Look at the reality of cellular service to learn the lesson of discontinuity. There are more cellular standards (seriously world wide its pretty scary) then there should be. But everyone there is only one phone plug. Two to three power plugs at least around the world but only one phone plug.

Seems kinda like something that could be fixed if we could all just “get along.”

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SOA 3.0 the device as a point of integration…

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Portable weather gauge (from Kestrel – if you don’t have one get one!) 38 mph winds outside the house right now.)

The quest for the perfect device.

Yeah I know this is a dead horse and I have frankly beaten it far too many times. There is something though, at the edge of what I am looking for that remains almost here.

I got up this morning preparing for our second hurricane since moving to Maryland. Irene hit North of us, although there was a lost weekend of rain. Today, Dylan let me know he wasn’t happy about the outside weather conditions. I waited for cancellation of my meeting in Downtown DC (although with Federal offices closed my gut is its cancelled).

For the past month I have been using the Labquest products that integrate with your PC and iPad (the iPad software was just released). This is a great product for science teachers anywhere (man I wish it was available when I was teaching). It also is a great tool to use as it integrates with the PC/Macintosh and the iPad. Which is where I am heading today –

Is the device of the future merely an integration device? I talked about SOA 3.0 or Screens as a service – based on that I wonder if in fact SOA 3.0 doesn’t actually lead us to a true reality the device as a service.

If you think about the progression of technology over the past ten years you begin to see a slow change in both the architecture of solutions as well as the functionality of devices. I had conversation with a very smart person once who said they didn’t like the Pocket PC phones (circa 2006) because they were Swiss Army knives – they could do everything but nothing well.

Now, iPhones and Android phones do a number of things well – and that number is increasing every week. But the devices are actually becoming integration points rather than stand alone functional units. Sure, you can use them as stand alone devices there is no question. But as integration points they are exceptional. You don’t need the weather equipment you simply work with the folks from Labquest so that you can provide your own local weather or you integrate with one of the national services and get the same weather that the forecasters get.

The device as an integration unit. SOA 3.0…which by the way really builds on my earlier concept of the screen as a service. Now with the device as a point of integration the screen is no longer a lock it is simply another point of integration.

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Even your crystal ball is a screen.

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A message contained in a technological bottle (this blog). Opening the bottle reveals one persons humble opinion and in all cases should be taken as such.

This blog never intends to offend (although I know it has at times). It intends to share what is out there in my ether. What is beyond my eyesight that I am straining to see.

Today I am looking beyond the horizon of mobility. I was an avid science-fiction reader as a teenager. I found the genre to be intriguing but to also hint at what might be. The concept of a wearable computer was the one that struck me as the most interesting.

Shipping in November is the Meta-Watch. A watch that connects to your iPhone or Android phone and allows you to have a screen share on your wrist. The Pebble (from the folks that make the BlackBerry connected watch today InPulse) will ship in December. These two devices are the first step in a very interesting journey.

It is as much a concept of what and where displays will be and show. The future of computing to me is the reality of the screen. At home and at work we will have a single large screen. The smaller devices we carry with us will be aware of the larger screen and we can choose to auto-display or be prompted. Smaller watch sized devices will work for many of us (although with the cellular phone the wrist watch is dying). On the go we will have screens that include built in projectors so we can increase our screen size as needed (or use only the small screen).

SOA 3.0 will represent the screen as a service. Where applications become aware not only of the device they are on and its capacity (the consumption concept of my earlier SOA 2.0 blogs) but will also be aware of screens that are available. Imagine for a second the new world of advertising when your company can rent the displays in time square for a minute any day any time. The concept of the screen as a service. It truly begins the abstraction of the computer. Everything becomes a screen.

The infamous crystal ball we all look into to see what may be is also in the end simply a screen.

Appearing at 1:59 pm today on Times Square a 30 second advertisement called The Future is Now. I mean it is now. Actually I missed it, the future is right now. No Now. Well maybe now…

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Building the “perfect” or ultimate office

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It has been a quest for me for a long time. My issue is of course what do I do with all the clutter, but that is a personal issue that doesn’t impact the perfect office.

Start with a good chair. I have had probably 10 or so chairs over the years. Each of them was an improvement over the last. Currently I have a nice chair in my work office, and a nice massage chair in my home office. Both are good chairs and that is a great starting point for your office. Invest in a decent chair you will not regret it.

Monitors are the next thing that is critical. I had a friend in my old job that used to say I have a 42 inch monitor at my desk. It made the rest of us wonder how he pulled that off. Then I tried having a bigger monitor like that in my home office and I know why. Because everything is easier on a bigger monitor. So get a decent monitor. I like the LG monitors I have one that supports HDMI, VGA and DVI. That allows me to have multiple devices connected easily.

Invest in a good switch. Do you have more than 1 pc? If so having multiple keyboards and mice will drive you nuts. So I found the best switch – it supports up to four computers per switch and allows you to on the fly switch between computers. I have more than 4 computers but less than the 14 I used to have. So two switches works perfectly. The ones I found also support a USB drive, USB keyboard and USB mouse which makes it quick and easy for sharing.

I am a huge whiteboard fan. I’ve had one in my office for the past 12 years and I can’t tell you the difference that makes. Well actually I can – it allows me to think on a larger space. But with the new eBeam stuff I have to say it is even more of a great productivity tool than it was before.

There you go – the start of a perfect office.

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20 years in IT

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I have been in IT now for more than 20 years. I started my IT career on a helpdesk (I recommend everyone do that – in the end it teaches you at the very least to listen, hear and evaluate all problems equally).

I was on a team that built a company wide email system (for many different companies). I have upgraded systems and built solutions that were geared towards solving core business communication issues.

I have helped organizations consider and in the end platform solutions (I wrote a replatforming system you can still find it at MSDN.Microsoft.com search for AAEP). The reality is that over the course of a career there are a number of things you do over time.

So after 20 years in IT (after nearly 8 years as a school teacher) here is my favorite things I’ve done:

  • Built and deployed a softswitch solution while working at The Future Now.
  • Built and deployed a mail system for a City in the Midwest.
  • Built and deployed a mail system for a major Midwest Bank.
  • Helped a customer in Malaysia move off Lotus Domino (which by the way was the best project I worked on while at Microsoft)
  • Sold the need for a global practice within MCS for helping Lotus Domino Customers migrate.
  • Worked as a member of the Exchange product group.

It has been a fun ride so far!!!!

.doc

Occupy Wall Street Remotely…

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Yesterday I talked a little about the quarterly earnings pattern that has been established by the various organizations that report on financial trends. They talk about a variety of numbers and throw out facts and figures but I worry that the world economic reality can’t be measured quarter by quarter anymore.

For example if you look at Facebook they are being pounded from their IPO because they haven’t captured a revenue stream from mobility. But if we take that as a driver there are a lot of companies that will struggle with mobility revenue. Microsoft, Best Buy and others will all find it very hard to make money in that market – why? Because the market is set today, now it will take an outlier to find a new way in. So Facebook just like the others really shouldn’t be pounded.

Its interesting because of the misses the experts make. Yahoo was once a wall street darling (IBM has been a Wall Street darling a number of times, and has fallen out of favor just as many times). I think the reality of the problem is that the people making these predictions drive the market in the direction of their predictions. Many years ago they used to predict elections at 5 pm eastern. That of course negated California and their entire population from selecting presidents. I believe the same thing is happening today in the stock market. Companies rise and fall based on a quarterly hype cycle instead of rising and falling on what they are capable of delivering.

You see if you fall – you lose not only your ability to use the value of your company but you can’t get as much money as you could before. It becomes a self-fulfilling prophesy of failure.

Time to change Wall Street…

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