2015–and the answer to the question why do you blog? Perhaps the better question is why don’t you blog?

My last blog of 2015. Its been a year. We spent two weeks in Hawaii continuing our 2011 decision that every vacation has to have some beach time (the value of living in Maryland – an hour to the Ocean). I averaged 13,000 steps a day for the year and managed to lose 42 pounds.

During the year I posted 365 blogs twice (two a day personal and professional). More than 50,000 people viewed my various posts. That represents about 150 per day. Sadly I can’t tell you how many unique visitors there were. My guess is there are 80 subscribers and between 50-60 regardless and 10 new people a day but I can’t confirm that.

Someone asked me once – why do you blog. First off I think everyone should blog. It is a way to record your thoughts and share them. Ideas are like moths. They are attracted to light in the case of ideas the light is other ideas. Thoughts, concepts and dreams shared have a better chance of becoming real than those kept in a dark closet and locked away.

When my father passed a year and a 1/2 ago I started writing down all my memories of him. I posted them for others to see. Not as a guide but as a way for me to work through my grief. It also leaves a mark for the world to read about my dad. About who he was. I blog about my mother, my grandfather, my wife, my children and my dogs on my personal blog. Sharing memories that I have written down. Putting them out there for others to see, argue about and enjoy.

So why do I blog? Once a long time I used to only spend time posting articles in professional journals. My goal was to be a published author, with my name above an article or short story I had written. I realized that the dream was to write. Not to publish.

Some of my blogs like the Dylan Thomas line did not go gentle into that blogosphere. They burned bright for a time. Some quietly rolled off the pages of time and were forgotten. But they are all there. Each of them reminding me of moments and thoughts.

Some of my blogs are not complete. I write three, four or even ten times. Refining an idea or concept that is critical to and for me. I have over the years created a number of Serial Stories like the English writers of the 1800’s, sharing a piece of the story every day for a week or a month.

I’ve gone on tangents that led me to interesting realities. Things I never would have spent time thinking of if not for my blog.

So the question to end this was why blog? Its part of creating an intellectual capital system. Capturing the tacit knowledge in an organization. It isn’t about being right. Its about capturing what is the person head. I think everyone should blog. It opens you to the world and lets more people in. Its beyond the simple social media and 140 character share or daily Facebook cat picture. It is a piece of you tat will live beyond you and yet remains always a piece of you.

Perhaps the better question to launch into Cyberspace, the Blogosphere, instead why do you blog is in fact why don’t you blog?


Avid Blogger…

Additional thoughts on smart cameras and some security issues…

Great post on Linkedin about the ability today of cameras to connect. Nikon, Olympus, Sony and other cameras have the ability to connect to a smart phone or tablet now.

That ability to create a one to one connection is incredible. The next step and what I am calling for in a smart camera is the ability to share that connection with every smart device at an event. But not all the Nikons or JVC cameras at an event sharing with the other Nikon and JVC camera owners. Every single camera taking pictures able if the owner choosers, to share their images with everyone other person there.

Creating a mesh of camera’s that results in the maximum number of potential good pictures. Not one camera but 1000. Now this brings up all sorts of PII issues I know. That is why there is a specific rule, the owner of the camera has to agree first. All people who connect into the shared camera system have to agree to abide by the rules of copyright. The image of a person is in fact their property. (not the image taken, the actual picture of the person is their property).

The security risk in this is you turn on image sharing and then you don’t turn it off. At work you are attending a meeting and decide to take a picture of the whiteboard. Now that image of a great corporate idea is freely available to anyone. Or worse someone can intentionally Blu-Jack your phone and force image sharing on. So we need sensors that tell us sharing is on. Audio, video and other sharing would automatically light an LED that is separate from the device preferably in the room. Perhaps installed in every conference room a single set of LED’s that light up and notify you upon entering the room if your sharing is on.

I can’t tell you how many times over the course of the last 10 years I’ve entered a meeting as the ONLY PERSON not carrying a laptop. If you are taking your laptop to a meeting I better see NOTES of what was said after the meeting. Or you better be looking things up to speed the end to discussions. If you are simply there with a laptop checking your mail, shame on you. (PS, laptops and tablets now often come with front and back cameras. It isn’t hard to write malware that turns the camera on).

Effectively the security required for the idea is only allowing image sharing for a time period. When you turn it on, it prompts you (how long) and then at some point during that period prompts you again (how long). It would be annoying but it would allow for personal privacy and reduce the accidental sharing of imaging.

Smart cameras would be more than simply enabling sharing. The advantage of a  camera over a cellular phone for enable this? You turn cameras off. Sometimes they stay off for days at a time. Sometimes they aren’t on for a month. That is the risk of image sharing on a cellular phone. Which by the by, you can do today without the user knowing it. A point and shoot and a DSLR would have additional security that exists (camera off) and could be added (see my CPS blogs on removable security solutions for CPS devices).

You can create a shared image from a number of devices today. (Photosynth and other solutions do this automatically from a number of sources). The authorities do this frequently to recreate a scene. Eventually as VR expands you will do this to recreate a moment in Virtual Reality, you can replay a sporting event from every angle possible. Is it a catch?

A Smart Camera would be able to switch into VR mode and out as you needed. Combining the best features of stand alone cameras (mounted and never moving) portable phone cameras (shaky but always on) and point and shoot functionality into a single device that allows you to interact with it intelligently.

Smart Cameras are coming!



Great question from a reader about Smart Cameras and connections…

So a great question about my smart camera posts that I wanted to share. “I like the idea of a smart camera being able to connect to all the shared cameras around, but can’t you do that with a cell phone today? Wouldn’t that be better done on a cell phone anyway?”

Great question, no because the Cell phone remains while a great I have it in my pocket and I am taking more pictures (the number of pictures taken in a year has increased every year since 2007. The cameras on smart phones are so much better than they were 10 years ago. But they are still limited. They are either too big (iPad, Adenoid or Windows Tablet) or they are designed as phones first not cameras (iPhone, Windows Phone, Android Phone). This WordPress platform isn’t built to show you the why of this argument.

This is the moon. Take a picture of it with your cell phone. Zoom into the lunar seas as far as you can. Now, take a digital camera and take the same picture. Depending upon the camera (and the lens) you can zoom in a lot further. Want an even better picture? Get a telescope with a camera. Now zoom in. You very quickly get the reality of quality.

The search for quality can drive you insane. I am not embarking on that quest. I am simply pointing out that quality matters. Not today when you are snapping that fast picture but later when you share it. The problem with the cellular camera is more to do with the reality of sharing than anything else. Certainly there are many tools that make it easier to share cellular pictures. Facebook, Photobucket and many others make it simple. The problem is first do you, and second who are you sharing with?

That is why the shared image system will be a value. First off because I don’t always take great pictures. People with cellular cameras don’t always take great pictures. But if there are a 1000 people at an event and 100 have picture sharing on, then you will in the end capture the moment with at least one good picture (odds are in your favor).

Eventually this split is going to occur. Either the smart camera, is fully integrated into the cellular device, or they stay separate. There is a future where the two unite into a single device. But the camera will have to get a lot smaller and so will the phone. A larger foldable screen will have to be available so that you can unfold the screen and see larger images. The unified device will have to have a more natural grip so you can hold it away from you or to your eye like a camera. Image stabilization will have to continue to improve. Lens on cellular phones will have to get better. Its not always the number of megapixels you have available. Its how good of a lens it is.

Then there will only be specialty cameras like the Bubl and Cellular cameras. You will have drones, that publish back to your cellular phone and cameras that support unique views. To answer the original question, yes the cellular phone would be the point of connection in a unified cameras system. But I suspect you will connect to both other cellular phones as well as other specialty cameras. From infa-red imaging, to aerial views of events the specialist smart cameras will provide another view. Most likely a better image as well than your cell phone. So while the cell phone would become the point of integration, the aggregate picture would probably come from a number of smart cameras.


Smart Camera Futurist…

What does a smart camera need to do…

The smart camera…

First of all, the concept would become the Camera available as a set of devices or CPS connections. The capabilities of the devices will be specialized to areas where cellular phones would be weak.

It is the search for quality. Originally the quality bar was set at the same or better than a film camera. The optimal production capability of the film camera was a slide. There are a growing number of cameras that can ultimately do a better job than a film camera. When you add the ability to digitally remove shaking and image blurry “ness” from bad focus or wrong object focus the digital camera offers a lot more quality.

But quality is a two fold concept – the quality of the image taken and the quality of the image produced. So now you have to factor in the cost of an image. 36 exposure role of film cost between 8-12 dollars. The cost of preparing slides cost between 14-16 dollars for around an 80 cents per image produced. Most digital cameras get below 80 cents a picture the first time they are taken out of the box. Professional or high end DSLR’s require 10-12 uses to get there.

That last part, reducing the cost of pictures means you can take more pictures. Effectively even with cell phone camera you can take a lot of pictures. I have taken 75000 digital pictures since 1990 (when I got my first Apple Quicktake and then a Casio Digital Camera). My total cost for memory cards, cameras and printers (plus photo paper) is less than 12000 dollars. So my effective cost of pictures taken is 16 cents an image. Now if you factor in the fact that I have actually been able to sell a number of the Digital Cameras I’ve owned over the years my final cost per picture is 9 cents a picture.

So the math still favors digital cameras. They still offer a better image than the cell phone. Its time for a smart camera. yesterday I talked about the concept of a smart camera. Let’s figure out what a smart camera has to have in the modern age to become a factor in the market.

Let’s remove table stakes.

  1. GPS
  2. Wi-Fi for photo viewing on other devices quickly
  3. support for more than 64 gig of photo storage on the device
  4. Image stabilization integration
  5. Still and video mode

Let’s add the new features that make a camera smart.

  1. Instant on
  2. support for wearable remote lens that is always recording events
  3. intelligent zoom – lock on peoples faces and zoom to multiple faces
  4. Panorama imaging
  5. multiple speed camera (slo-mo to high speed) so you can create your own video in various formats easily
  6. One press of the button produces 12 pictures – 4 before as the button is touched, 4 as the button is touched and 4 after. The better the camera the tighter the time for the images would be.
  7. Automated burst mode. IE for action pictures one touch of the shutter releases the burst mode of the camera.
  8. Integration with other cameras in the area. Create a field of cameras as a service so your camera and easily capture all the images taken by the cameras in the area (that are sharing)
  9. Diablo integration (so you don’t share your images with others)
  10. light awareness, change your shutter speed quickly to reflect the light available.

The reality of the cellular phone camera is people will take those images.The more they take, the more they view the images over time the more likely the rise of the smart camera will happen. It is a natural progression to want to have and share better pictures!


Smart Camera dreamer!

The rise of the Smart Camera…

I know I have had this argument before and I am probably wrong but still I am going to argue it again.

1. Digital cameras are not dead.

2. The cell phone camera will ultimately create a new digital camera market.

A few years ago watches were dead. No young person would be caught dead with a watch. Sure people like me still had them, but I was on the edge of the watch crowd. I wanted a connected watch, a watch that would interact with what I was doing. A Smart watch. The birth arrival of Smart Watches has recreated a market for watches.

I think the reality of cellular phone pictures will cause a rebirth of a specialized digital camera market. Mostly because while you can do virtually anything with a digital camera, it can’t do everything well. In fact there are few things cellular cameras do well. A very person once told me that the Swiss Army knife approach makes cellular phones bad at many more things. The very first thing – I have 22 gig of space on my iPhone. I have 128 gig of free space on my digital camera. Over the holidays I took (and my sons took) 600 images. They are now (see below) available via the many systems I share images on.


Digital cameras are good at two things. The first is capturing and storing the image. The second is image quality. I think what will happen is the smart camera. There are cameras at the edge of the smart camera concept now. They do auto focus and image adjustment while the image is taken. The iPhone or Android phone camera today can take slo-motion video but anytime you do special types of video you run the risk of shaking. Not the video, the actual device shaking in someone’s hand.

The market for specialized digital cameras continues to grow. Cameras you can take underwater several hundred feet. What I suspect is coming next is the broad concept of a smart camera.

What is a smart camera. First off, not a single camera that is shipping today although there are many that call themselves smart cameras. They aren’t.

A smart camera connects to your cellular device and is aware of where you are, what the context of the situation is and what type of shot needs to be taken. A smart camera combines still and video in capturing moments. A smart camera adjusts to the lighting, ambient noise and type of activity that is happening around it. Try taking motion images with your cellular phone that play out from your left to your right. See the image begin to shake as you pan across your body. A smart camera would fix that on the fly.

Would the smart camera always be on? That is a question I wonder. What does it look like? Would it be attached to your cellular device?

Questions that will be answered as we wander this topic.


Smart Camera Advocate.

Ah CpS reaches fish…

The internet of Fish. I have been stocking up on ideas for fishing lately (getting back into fishing more this spring). I’ve noticed the change in the number of devices available for fishing that fit into the sensor category. The number, breadth and types of fishing CPS devices are amazing.

It is exciting.

I can’t wait to try out the many CPS fishing devices.

That got me thinking about other specialty market’s that CPS will penetrate. Fishing is pretty straight forward. Sonar can be easily mounted on drones for use in the air. You can get underwater drones so you can see what the floor of the water you are fishing looks like.

Imagine what a fish thinks. First it sees this and then there is a hook. I am pretty sure if I were a fish I would not bite the hook after the seeing the drone. I might not bite the hook even if I had a chance but I know seeing something like that hovering in the water near me I would probably swim away.

Next year its going to be a CPS Christmas!



What may yet come…Or, the ghost of Christmas Future, arriving here on Christmas day.

Does technology really matter?

The easy answer to that is yes. If only for the connection between the human and the technology. People are changed by technology. Sometimes subtly over a long time, sometimes it happens overnight. Technology is as I said yesterday like a river flowing past your door. If you don’t pay attention to how fast it is moving at some point you will wake up downstream and completely lost.

Technology is a tool and enabler that helps us move forward. A way for us to shorten the gap between potential and reality. Humans use tools to make things better, technology is a tool.

So on this Christmas day of 2015 let’s look forward to technology tomorrow. What will be when we close our eyes next Christmas and wake up with a new world of technology around us.

I won’t talk about voice and motion control. Those are out there are growing every day. Rather today let’s look at the changes coming in the tablet and connection markets.

First off, the cellular phone continues to evolve and change. What is next in that market? Will there be implanted phones? (Maybe, but that is many years and a lot smaller of a device than it is now). Or will phones continue to add functionality. What don’t phones have today that would be a game changer? Is the day of portable sensor systems dawning? Or perhaps foldable phone screens?

Integration (cell-home-automation-car) is the next function of the cellphone that explodes (IMHO). Once integration takes its next step then we will see the additional sensors begin to pop up. Many cars have the additional sensors today. Eventually there will be integration with just about everything.

Will there be non-touch screen computers in the next three years? Yes, deployed but manufactured? They (touch screen) are so much easier to use regardless of OS. Will there be computers that don’t have touch screens?

Will there even be computers? As the chips in the phone get more and more powerful and we complete the initial integration project will we need computers? Or will our phones be able to share processing with the car, the house and our office? We simply have a cellphone and it connects to the larger processor when needed. Not the on demand we offer in cloud today but instead the on need of computing tomorrow. If you need more processing your phone knows where to get the additional power needed for however long it will be consumed.

Flexible processing, open integrated systems and expanded sensor capabilities are just three things that IMHO are going to come in the next 12-18 months. Beyond that it is going to be hard to see, things change quickly in the technology world.

Happy holidays to all!



Of Rivers, Change and rates…

There is a wonder when you take a moment and separate from technology and enjoy the joy of nature. Add to that the quiet rushing sound of a river and the gentle quiet that is nature. It isn’t Walden’s pond and I am not Thoreau. But it is a moment where you can forget about technology. You can release the world and drift away.

It is the balance we all seek. Where technology, humanity and the press for innovation and change slow for a moment and give us the time we need to stop, reflect and find our center. In finding our center we can begin to assimilate the changes around us.

Time slows in the woods. Or when you are outside walking. When you walk inside on a treadmill it is excursive. It is you staving off the attacks of time and the impact of the food you eat. But when you are outside it is you connecting wit the world you are a piece of. We are all pieces of the island, all pieces of the world around us and we are bound to that world.

The Eagles wrote a song many years ago now a line from that song “she pretended not to notice she was caught up in the pace” applies more now with the rate of change than ever before. We may not be pretending, but I think we often get caught up in the pace. We let the pace of change flow around us. It becomes less of a thing we notice as the change accelerates faster and faster.

The rate of change increasing around us. What was cool yesterday in the afternoon is passé now the next morning. We lose people in the the eddy’s of the river. They pause for a moment in an idyllic technology pool and stop moving forward. I am comfortable with the change rate today but I know it is not possible to be forever.

I used the relaxation of separating from technology and realizing it also described the actual rate of change. Rivers are all about flow. The rate and speed of the flow, the height of the bank and the amount of water in the River. All of those things apply to the actual water. The idyllic qualities of nature lie beyond those measureable qualities of the river. It is the connection between your inner human reflections.

The other side of why a river, is the concepts of eddy’s and pools, as well as current. The river is always moving from where it starts to where it will end. If you don’t pay attention you can end up much further along than you expect. The place where your quiet existed may be many miles behind you.



It’s coming–the TURKEY Holiday POV Video!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

To think about nanny cams. Or hidden cambers or who is actually watching you, right now. The concept of video interaction isn’t really an interaction is it. Someone is watching you. They are tracking not only the stores you go to but they also log into that store and track what you buy, when you buy it and if that gift gets returned. It is the mix of CPS, and data analytics.

Tis the season to be watched.

I used to envision a room where people sat and stared as people wandered around the mall shopping. Watching them remotely to ascertain their habits. I know that is cynical but it was what I thought for a long time. I suspect its probably something that while possible isn’t probable.

A conversation thought yesterday – when will the first movie be released that was fully shot from an aerial drone? Drone POV. Or how about a movie released that is fully VR? Actors providing avatars and voice talent but not actually in the movie.

Then I started thinking about a heat resident video camera that provides the first holiday feast Turkey POC. As the meat is sliced off the Turkey, as the stuffing cooks inside the bird you will see it, holiday bird POV.

A new holiday tradition is born. Let’s watch us tearing the holiday bird apart from the inside Smile.

My problem is always that my imagination runs wild. In this particular case it has run well beyond wild into the realm of strange. But you get the idea. As cameras and sharing evolve things will appear that we probably don’t want to see.


The fun thing about tradition is that it evolves. The Turkey POV video will be a great addition to every family tradition!


Turkey POV Videographer

I automate. We automated. Automation is h3ere.

clip_image001[4]The most amazing thing about automation is the work it removes. I still remember the original 1984 commercial, the computer for the rest of us. It showed computers as something more than fancy typewriters. Those first computers that began to trick out were the start of the revolution. At the time it was low cost computer versus premium computer. That was quickly over. The low cost computer won. In part because it had relationships and connections with the giants of the services industry at the time (IBM and HP). But a funny thing happened on the way to a PC on every desk.

First was the net computer. A computer with virtually no storage and running everything from the network. It was a device just before its time. Later the emergence of the Chromebook from Google actually achieved that netbook goal but that took years to arrive. I often work on and post my blogs from my Chromebook. They are actually quite useful.

clip_image002[4]The tasks that computers have automated are amazing. Doctors can quickly see the X-Rays taken of your knee or arm. Except they often use the newest innovation in the process, the non-pc tablet. The 2007 birth of the iPhone changed how people used their personal devices. Prior to the iPhone there was the cheap hardware and expensive software model that Microsoft built for the PocketPC. That market had worked well in the past (it was the original model of PC’s – cheap hardware and expensive software.) Apple changed that. Not full applications anymore. Not expensive applications. The revolution of the iPhone wasn’t the iPhone it was iTunes. It generated the completive solution Google Play. That begat the competitive windows Store and the world moved to small bite-sized cheap applications. It was a brave new world and one that was ready for automation.

The automation was simple at first. For the most part it was the birth of X-10. You could turn on lights and turn off light switches remotely. You could open and close your garage doors. The software ran on a computer so you had to leave your computer on all the time. The big change was the power of the computer and the ability to connect and automate all those new devices. X-10 begat Z-wave and Zigbe. It also began the home automation revolution. But there were other automations happening at the same time. From your car and your handheld, the automations were just beginning.

clip_image003[4]First it was the appearance of GPS chips in the Cell phone. Then the growth and appearance of Cameras. The camera on the cell phone has done more to change the world in a short time than virtually any other technology ever has. For that matter you could argue that connected cameras do more to change the world than anything ever has. Every event now has a cell phone video of it. Nothing escapes the electronic eye. All is seen and all is shared. This is good if you are a member of law enforcement trying to solv3e a crime. It’s bad if you are someone that has made a public mistake.

The cell phone is so much more now than it was 10 years ago, 5 years ago even. You have your own seismograph in your hands. You have a decibel meter in your hands. You can quickly add a Geiger, UV and barometer to your cell phone. All of these things are automated components. You launch a single application on your phone and you interact with the device you added.

This brings us to the newest tipping point of automation. The great input debate. In 2007 with the launch of the iPhone Steve Jobs said we don’t need a stylus. Your finger is all you need for input. But there is a reason why humans use pencils. So with the new iPad Pro, you get a pencil. Microsoft has improved stylus input with Windows 10, and many Android phones come with a Stylus. The best one I’ve used so far? The Samsung S pen, it automates the use of the Stylus. When you take out the S pen the Stylus menu is turned on. But more than the pencil which is a way to connect with the device we are moving to a new world of automation. Motion and voice activation are so much more powerful than they ever were before. The Amazon FireTV makes your living room a voice control center. Xbox One can also control everything from the voice sensor. Voice is here. Motion as well, the Leap controller is a blast to play with and motion has a lot of value. There are 10 crowd funded campaigns (Kickstarter and Indiegogo) that focus on motion sensors. Tobi has an eye sensor that tracks your eye movement so you can control your computer with your eyes. The automation of what is possible is amazing!

The dream of automation is to remove the need for humans to do things that are reptile and boring. The end game of where we are is that we are on the verge of the next big wave of automation. From the 1980 release of the PC Jr., the 1984 release of the Macintosh the world changed. In 1995 it changed again with an operating system as popular as a Hollywood movie. People lined up overnight to get the first copies of Windows 95. 2007 pushed the world back to the handheld and the innovations that have happened in that market are amazing. The Cloud changed how organizations consider data centers. The Internet of Things and now Cyber Physical Systems connect everything to everything.

What’s next?