Connection…

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“to the friends that once walked with me, and the friends who travel with me now and to those who have yet to join me in travels the best wishes for all.”

I am moving towards realizing that the reality of connectivity may be different now than it was even two years ago. I realized that yesterday as I was driving one of the kids to work late in the evening (teenagers have more accidents between 1 am and 6 am for a lot of reasons. So I ask the kids not to drive during those time frames unless they are prepared).

My connection now is my cellular phone. My iPad has become a research and functional assistant that I use and leverage as a tool for that fact. My tablet PC is now my creativity station that I use to create interesting ideas (like this blog) and finally I have a couple of Macs as systems I use for a variety of tasks. The devices have neatly fit into the categories I need them to fit into – with two of them (iPad and Tablet) spanning more categories every day.

  • The first part of connectivity is the connection to the device.
  • The second part is the connection to the resources you need.

As connectivity improves both at home and on the road what will the connections of tomorrow bring? Wikipedia grew quickly because the Internet grew. It remains a problem however for many schools (they won’t allow kids or college students to use Wikipedia as a source). Looking down the path I traveled in my book The Syncverse I realized that the path chosen is still valid. Sources will become the Myverse. You will have the option to reach to information brokers and information merchants to provide nuanced and reviewed versions of information as well. This broad picture will enable everyone to see 360 degree views of all information.

This of course presents an even greater need for the Eduverse. The structure that will allow teachers to be successful in a much broader way. There are a number of growing initiatives in the educational space to help with this, but there needs to be that unified structured system in place as well.

To connect, to be connected to be connecting. Eventually we will not remember the time we weren’t.

.doc

A story of technology…

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Technology is a fleeting mistress that abandons you as you walk out the store with your new shiny purchase that by the time you unpack the box is no longer shiny.

Technology is a cautionary tale that we all live in. It, technology, isn’t often where it is most needed. It is often where it isn’t needed and it is always on.

Technology saves lives. Technology changes lives. Technology makes things better (and things worse). It is the human story. 

I saw a great cartoon the other day with a wise man on top of a mountain with an iPad. The climber comes to the wise man after a long and arduous climb up the mountain. He crests the last part of the path and pulling himself onto the ledge where the guru sits he sees the guru for the first time and notices the iPad held by the guru. We see the look of surprise on the seekers face as he struggles to come to grips with the vision in front of him.

“Master” the seeker asks “why an iPad.”

“Is that your only question seeker?” The Master asked.

“No. I have many questions.” The seeker answered.

“I have many answers. And for the questions I cannot answer I have Google.” the Master replied.

Seek the truth within the reality around you.

.doc

The concept of airspace

 

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The FCC regulates the bandwidth available for various actions. This includes but is not limited to wireless phones, broadcast wi-fi, television, radio and any other signal launched into the air or space and returned for use to earth.

Why am I bringing that up?

The concept of a hotspot was standalone as recently as four years ago, you can now get one from AT&T or Verizon for less than 50 bucks a month. Video Camera’s, Livescribe pens and other devices now use Wi-Fi to connect to the world around them. It means your personal wi-fi space is expanding. It grows around you expanding to more and more devices.

Wi-Fi bleed (how far into the parking lot your corporate wi-fi signal went) used to drive IT security crazy. Now your personal wi-fi may be twice or even three times as large as it was four years ago.

What can do about this? Personal devices do not currently fall into the FCC’s jurisdiction. The manufacture and production of the devices falls into their bailiwick but the actual device once released for consumption does not.

You can have 100 devices connected to you. In the near future you probably will (phone/gps, wi-fi camera, wi-fi storage the list goes on). Your personal wi-fi will be large enough with enough devices to begin to impact the other wi-fi networks around you.

What are corporate professionals to do when there are 300 people in an office each with a personal wi-fi system that competes with the corporate wi-fi for the same space and frequency? Will corporate IT be forced to ban personal wi-fi devices?

We were never going to run out of Ipv4 address. That time is close. Bandwidth isn’t unlimited and the spectrum used by these devices is limited in the end.

What happens next?

.doc

A Few Random Technology Thoughts…

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Battery consumption

I was thinking about the impact of batteries on landfills and frankly now that I am opening that door is actually makes me nervous. We go through between 20 and 30 batteries a month. Each of them goes to the landfill and at some point does what? Sit there?

Ever seen the inside of a device that has leaked battery acid? It “aint” pretty.

Reusable batteries, and rechargeable devices has to become a national trend soon. We can’t afford to have that many batteries going into our waste disposal system.

Keyboards

Ok, so the other day I took 8 keyboards to Goodwill. Why? Don’t need them anymore. Why did I, in the end move them half way across the country? Don’t know. In fact, I would love it if devices did a better job of pen and voice input. Then I wouldn’t need a keyboard at all.

Trackball

I used to have the best trackball from Kensington for my Macintosh. I love that thing. It was perfect and frankly I miss it. The newer trackballs are just not as clean as that one was.

DSLR

I wish I knew more about my Canon Camera. I know I can take decent pictures with it now (because I take 200 pictures where I would have taken 2 I am bound to get lucky.) I have been wondering however if it is the complexity of the device or the slowness of the learner that is slowing me down.

.doc

And what began this “revolution?”

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The point of convergence. Is it the living room, the boardroom or somewhere as of yet undetermined.

I wonder.

What once was the province of central IT departments is moving outward. Cloud Computing is simply the tip of the iceberg. If you think about what was available from central IT 20 years ago that you can now do in your living room it is a pretty staggering list.

  1. Video conferencing
  2. Audio conferencing
  3. Interactive live meetings

If you think about that list – it was until the past 5 or so years the bastion of central IT. Now, its something you can do with a 400 dollar Android Tablet. There is an old saying that why you do something always driving the what you do and the how you do it. If the reason why is compelling, you won’t be held back when the what and how are difficult.

So why did the point of convergence move from the boardroom to the living room?

If you buy the industry pundits model it came with the original iPhone and the emergence of “Apple” a consumer company impacting corporate IT departments. But Apple has always been an enterprise company. Sure they don’t have the presence of Microsoft and IBM in the enterprise space but they are all over the enterprise (look in any companies Marketing or Graphics department and count the macs).

Personally I believe the change came from the gaming industry. I had a SEGA Dreamcast. It was ahead of its time. Both the Xbox and the PlayStation are fantastic media devices. We use the Xboxes in the house for Hulu and Netflix streaming devices. The PlayStation 3 remains bar none the best Blu-ray disk player.

To me that is the real change. The move away from the best hardware and software solutions being in the IT world. Home systems have to be easy to use and setup. You have to be able to interact more effectively when you move into the home market.

The convergence began with the home gaming system.

.doc

To be simple or not to be…that is the question for all software developers…

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I don’t know why look and feel is driving me nuts right now. Both windows 8 and Windows server 2012 are significant departures from what was before, as is, additionally the lightening connector on the iPhone 5. For some reason those changes aren’t quite gelling with me.

Maybe I am getting old.

Overall I am looking for ease of use. It is an interesting problem because frankly sometimes its easier to learn how to do something differently (that in the end is faster) that is harder to learn at first. So you have to balance that argument carefully.

Am I in the end complaining about something that truly is easier to use?

So the learning curve can be an issue. With both Win 8 and Server 2012 it only took me a little bit to learn the new UI. With the lightening connector it was more waiting for Apple to release the products than it was a learning curve but that was a frustration curve.

Which actually got me thinking. What part does the frustration curve play in the overall learning curve of new things? When does the frustration curve kick in?

If we think about when and for that matter why users get frustrated there are a number of factors.

  • It makes it harder to do their job
  • The system is no longer simple (that is of course assuming it was simple the first time through – see above)
  • The system doesn’t accept the inputs I have in the format I have.

All of these frustrate users (and there are many more). The 2nd and 3rd issue are the ones to watch out for. Any time you change a system you may increase the time it takes to complete someone’s job the first few times, if you can decrease that over time they will in the end forget the first few times. The second two are ones that are problematic for solutions. It means there may be a requirements mismatch somewhere in the process.

The problem is “the way things are is the way things are.” Sometimes users have information mismatches and sometimes systems do. You have to walk that fine line when the reality is the mismatch is the users issue not your system’s issue.

.doc

Thinking about last week’s theme what is coming tomorrow?

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The ghost of technology future

I’ve been dancing around the concept of what’s next for the past couple of weeks. A lot of concepts and visualizations of what might be. It isn’t a long term project of mine or for that matter even something I will remember next month. I am just muddling through what might be for personal gain.

So what might be?

The thing that intrigues me the most right now is the future state consolidation that will have to occur in cloud computing. Why do I say it will have to occur? There are a number of large players in the space and an even larger number of medium size players. That middle layer will have to grow or shrink in order to compete with the larger players.

So consolidation is the first thing I see. I realize that is more of a business future than a technology future but it truly drives a number of what comes next scenarios.

Of course the first problem of consolidation is that prices go up. Services improve over time but it will cost more. Luckily there is another market factor (competition) that will balance out the initial consolidation cost increases.

At some point in the short term you will no longer buy computers. You will simply buy a CPU. The low end gets you what is out there right now, the high end becomes an evergreen (at least for a time period – maybe five years) PC. An ever green PC means you don’t upgrade – they upgrade you as part of the agreement.

You will most likely buy storage from two or more vendors online to support your data needs. One vendor is a risk (because well – they might lose your information) two would be the advised fault tolerant model.

Your TV becomes your computer monitor – I’ve done that for years and it works very well. High end users may still carry a laptop but it will be vastly different than what we have today – think of the laptop of tomorrow as more of a PPD (personal productivity device) that would be tailored to your specific need.

.doc