Wandering around wave riding and tomorrows tech…

I spend a little time, but lot’s of column width of weather technology. It is in part, an homage to my father who always loved weather technology. It is also in respect to the reality of weather and its impact on the world around us. When we lived in Indiana, I had a weather station so that I could watch for dangerous weather. In particular, in Indiana, you worry about tornados. Although in moving to Maryland I found out that you worry about Tornados as well, but now add to that Hurricanes. I worry about Hurricane and Hurricane paths for two reasons now. One is they create a significant weather disturbance around our house and the other because we need to double tie the boat during dangerous wind storms.

One of the things I have often done is move with technology, frequently as I posted the other day as a wave rider, just ahead of where everyone else is. Sometimes I am further ahead, and that means the vast mass of humanity goes a different direction. That is why I posted a few days ago about my museum for gadgets that well, never became what they could have been!

IMG_0157If, this were an epiphany about who and what I am, then this blog would be a great launching point for the celebration of that, or changing it to something more closely aligned with the rest of, well everyone. It is not, however, it is something I know, a part of me I relish. I like being a wave rider, a new technology kind of person.

It is why I back new things, consider new potentials and wonder. I wonder if in fact does the possible functionality work? That piece of me that wonders. I know for example that the Delta between dreams and advertising is far less than one would hope. It is razor thin in that I can virtually say anything in advertising as long as I don’t promise anything.

The reality is that many things are advertised, few are promised.

All of this leading to my quest. As a technologist, I am a wave rider. To me, that means that I am someone that rides ahead. I do, however, also have safety technologies. Technologies that I don’t ride ahead of by choice. Those include my phone (cellular) where I seldom if ever install anything beta on my device. The same goes for my iPad. Between those two, I stay away from beta and early adopter stuff. I have a PC in the house that I am running the windows insider build of Windows 10. That PC has the beta and non-beta software on it that I am testing. I like cutting the corner and riding the wave ahead of people in those scenarios. I do, however, have a full backup of that computer in two formats (last known good configuration is the easy one to store, I also have minimal applications installed version).

I backup my iPhone every single day. The same for my iPad. My PC’s get backed up by Carbonite every day. All of this because as a wave rider I know I am at risk for failure points. My quest is, first of all, to be ahead and turn back to tell those following what is coming, that is cool. That is the why of these daily missives, sent out into the universe to share my perceptions. That is not me advertising, that is me promising. I acknowledge that as a wave rider I miss some waves. Or that I ride waves that everyone else looks at and says not for me. That is part both of what I try and what I accomplish as a wave rider. You have to be careful of the waves you pick!

PS, boating hardware is not something I ever beta test. I do not wish to be a ½ mile from shore when I realize that in fact the device I am using, isn’t working anymore. That is, to borrow an old phrase, “a bit of a sticky wicket!”

When I began my technology musings, I was a school teacher. I was looking for ways to improve, innovate and deliver more information to the kids I was teaching. From building HyperCard stacks of Dinosaurs (they kids created the sounds for each dinosaur)! To creating Internet forums for teachers to share ideas (DTS-L) and a society focused on helping teachers share (The Society of Dead Teachers) I have focused my technology career on being just ahead of the curve. As a teacher initially that was using a computer grade book, which saved me hours during grade reporting time.

The future is sometimes behind us when we are wave riders. It is important to remember to look back from time to time. It is also important to remember the most important rule of wave riding, be careful!

.doc

Future Tech, futurist…

Time flies and sometimes it feels like I am standing still…

Today is my sons (twins) 19th birthday. When they were born, I was working for Microsoft (the good old days) in Cincinnati Ohio. Why then talk about personal stuff on my technical blog? Because I thought it would be fun to roll back the technology clock and talk about 19 years ago and what we thought was state of the art in tech, then!

First off, laptops were a lot bigger, and a whole lot slower. 19 years ago, in 1998 I had moved from Macintosh and PC to PC only in our house. We had finished the long time basement project and now had a state of the art 48-inch rear projection TV (an RCA – top of the line to boot!). We took our old Sony rear projection TV to the basement (that would later move to Chicago with Becca. The Sony was the original Bigger Barney TV. Jakki and I went TV shopping, and we were looking at TVs. She picked the one we got, simply because it had a “bigger Barney”). I had my original stereo that I had gotten by then nearly eight years before. It was setup in the living room with a CD and a record player. We were state of the art, with the outputs from the TV plugged into the stereo so we could do the home theater experience. With no subwoofer, it wasn’t much of a home teacher!

We had two computers then, one was a work computer, and the other two were home computers. Barb was home as the primary child caregiver and used the computer to wander around the internet. The internet, which was young then, was connected to via AOL and a modem. We didn’t have either broadband or ISDN, just a single phone line. We did have dish network as our primary television, but if you wanted to watch a show that you wouldn’t be home for, you had to setup the VCR. Of course, that meant the VCR could not be flashing 12:00 for you to program it to record the show!

ISDN wandered into our house around 2000. There were no cable models yet; we would move to that about 2002. In between ISDN, we did move to DSL for a year. In all cases, we only had Ethernet in our house in the basement. The rest of the house was on various wireless connections that were not wi-fi. Wi-Fi had begun to appear, and I added it to the house. We also wired three jacks in the house by running Ethernet wires.

We had a Sony TV in the living room, and we got a new Samsung HD TV for the basement. We replaced the TV in the basement with the new Samsung Flat Screen TV in roughly 2005. We moved that Samsung TV moved to Maryland, and is now Jakki’s TV in her apartment. We had bought a nice Sony TV in Cincinnati when we moved to Willowcove, that was our primary TV for ten years. When we moved to Maryland, we got a new Samsung Flat screen, and that is now our bedroom TV.

While in Greenwood the number of computers in our house grew. We ended up with one computer for the boys and one for Jakki. We gave one to Becca (along with the Sony 35 inch TV) for her to take to college. But downstairs we grew to 11 PC’s in my office area running various things. I do not miss those electric bills!

Fast forward to Maryland. All put two TV’s in the house now are wall mounted. All of them are flat screens, but the boys don’t have TVs on their walls. We are down from the high of 15 PC’s in the house. As far as Stereos, we now officially have a media room. That room can broadcast LP’s, CDs and internet radio anywhere in the house. We can also play music throughout the house from the Mini-Disc player and the Tape Recorder, although the number of times we aren’t using Internet radio is much smaller now.

All of that in 19 years. What a change. Now, if you want to record a show, you simply select it in the DVR and watch it whenever you want. We have fiber optic to the home network and wi-fi in every room. We also have Ethernet on every level of the house. When you have Netflix and Games being played, being able to push that to the Ethernet rather than saturating your home wi-fi, it is useful!

The best thing, is just how technically savvy all three kids have become. They know, understand and use technology extremely well. Even my wife is learning tech. Although there are times she doesn’t much like it!

.doc

the time flies…

On being a technology wave rider…

I often find myself wondering. Not, wondering the way I wander in my person blog. I wander, and started the wander project on my blog, because in 5th grade in Indiana when my kids were in that grade, which was asked to pick a place in the state and describe it. I never got to do that in 5th grade. So I started doing that with all the pictures I have of all the places I have been. You can find the wander project on my personal blog.

All of this also leads me to wander, here on my technical blog. Normally the wandering I do here is the reality of crowdfunding projects. I do not, to dispute an email I got about a month ago, only focus on crowd funding. I am also interested in cloud computing and what happens with all those connected devices (What NIST calls CPS or Cyber-Physical Systems, the management, and operations of what the industry calls IoT or Internet of Things).

Eagle TraceI am curious and interested in more things than I blog about. Security is one I often blog about and is one thing that always interests me. What we assume as secure isn’t always. I have advocated on my blog many times people make a set of changes to their home network. The first thing when you buy a new device is to modify the password. The second thing you need to do is setup a secondary wireless network that is connected to the internet but is the one you connect all your IoT devices. That is the first step towards a managed IoT environment. Plus if you discover your IoT device has been hacked it is a pretty simple action to shut off that separate wi-fi router.

But honestly, my personal passion lies in the area of what is next. I am always looking beyond what is possible now trying to see what may yet be possible. I don’t want to boil the ocean as my boss used to always warm me against for table salt. I am simply trying to see the impact of the things being considered and evaluated, presented and thought about. In those future things lies the next direction for technology and as a wave rider, I like to be at the front of as many waves as I can.

That concept, wave riding is one that resonates with me. I find that there are many reasons why someone would want to ride a wave, but the fun is in being just ahead of the wave. You don’t see surfers riding the middle of a wave. That causes them to fall off their boards. They ride just ahead of the wave, and if it is a large enough wave, ride the glassy tunnel formed by the pull of the ocean and the push of the water.

In technology, I ride ahead. I couldn’t by the way, stay on a surfboard long enough to even actually surf. I have tried and crashed every single time. Water skiing I can get up and stay up. Surfboard, not so much. I have looked at Paddle Boarding and the new Kinetic Boards, those look interesting, and I think I might be able to balance myself for that type of activity. In riding ahead, it is important to do two things; the first is to know how to get back. I have two computers that I use (down from a high of many more than two) for this process. The first is my development machine; it has everything to building and solving problems installed. The other is my stable, blog and writing machine. I do have a 3rd and 4th and 5th PC, but they have specific purposes. One is a VR/AR machine, one is a server I have for testing server software, and one is a Macintosh that I have for running Macintosh specific things.

I also find myself making sure my path is clear when it comes to those following. I write and share my experiences with new technologies and new ideas. That sharing is a critical part of being a wave rider. You have to be committed to sharing. That, the rule of wave riding, is why I am concerned that Indiegogo made the deal they made with IBM. I understand that Indiegogo has to protect its future, but signing a deal with IBM wasn’t the way. There was a better way – I sent them an email detailing it, but they said it was not for them. But then they did the first part of my idea, not the second. The last part of being a wave rider is safety. If you cannot make it back, it is unsafe.

It is better to fall and rise than it is to fall and sink. The wave riders credo.

.doc

geek and wave rider

Occipital releases Canvas and other fun tech stuff…

One of the coolest Kickstarter campaigns I backed was the Structure Sensor from Occipital. It allows you to connect a 3d scanner to your iPad, Android tablet or phone. Like Wallabot (another cool attachment product but not iPhone/iPad support as of now) it is an add on. They have released a new software package that is truly exciting. It is called Canvas, and it lets you create 3d maps of rooms in your house. I am sharing pictures of the sensor connected to my iPad, will share the scans at some later point.

Why is 3d scanning necessary? As we move further and further into the new age of IoT devices, being able to examine things in space is critical. The other side of scanning your house is that when you do move to the next level and decide to sell your home, you can hand the scans to the realtor. But you can also pre- move furniture. We recently wrapped the couch in our living room. It would have been so much easier for us (it was a little bigger when we got it home than we were expecting) if we could have placed a 3d image of the couch into our actual scanned room.

After the termination and bankruptcy of the PopSlate team, I did want to point out that crowdfunding is a risk. I did also want to say that many excellent companies are born in the crowdfunding world. Occipital is one of those!

There are many other crowdfunding projects to call out as exceptional, but for now let’s stay with the 3d scanner as one of the top projects I’ve backed, waited for and now, love!

For a long time, I was using the 3d Systems Sense Scanner, but Structure is a much better product and easier to use! Plus the software for the Structure is installable on mobile devices. That frees me from having to have a long USB cable to scan things.

IMG_0415The world of connected devices continues to expand. I am all about the many available connected devices. It is sometimes a little frustrating the differences between the new iPhone and the iPad Pro regarding the simulated 3.5 mm audio jack and the apparently less functional audio jack on an iPad. There are some devices that connected to the iPad just don’t work properly, and now they no longer work with the Lightning to 3.5mm connector of the iPhone either. I think I am going to create a list and post it for others to use.

I think I will wait for the post until after 10.3 of iOS to see if they either fixed the issues with the lightening to 3.5 jack or improved the iPad Pro’s port. Either way, I will give them a chance to shake out the initial bugs and see if they can get better!

Ending today’s positive tech note on a couple of interesting new technology ideas that are playing out. The first is the ever-increasing reality of IoT and DDOS attacks. Every smart connected device can be hacked. Every hacked device leaves your home, and of course the internet itself vulnerable. No matter what you do always change the default password to a new one! The other interesting trend that I am watching right now is the reality of tablets.

When I first started as an IT consultant more than 25 years ago, the consultant had to carry a huge laptop. The old luggable were horrifying. Every day you tore your arms a little more. Now, laptops and tablets are moving to ever smaller and ever better functionality. I find that I can do more than 70% of my job on an iPad now. My test case was setting up some G-Suite accounts via my iPad rather than using my computer. I’ve set up Office 365 accounts via my computer many times. But this time I wanted to try enabling things with my iPad. I can honestly say it took the same amount of time as doing it on my computer and I had the luxury of wandering around the office area as I was doing it.

1. G-Suite is a lot better than it used to be.

2. My iPad is becoming more and more a replacement for a laptop.

Of my journey to being a technologist. My paddle to the computer…

During my career, I have made a couple of pit stops. Those pit stops were shorter moments of employment than I would normally have even considered. One was a situation of not being able to deal with the passing of my father and needing to leave. The other was an ethical situation that still bothers me.

That said, it is interesting how an IT career progresses. IT wasn’t a career when I started that was on my radar. It was a career in the sense that you could walk right out of college when I graduated and be an IT person. My degree, my focus, and my career right out of college were as a school teacher. I set out to follow in the giant footsteps of my father. I found out quickly that I couldn’t fill his shoes. But, I do recall in interviews superintendents saying to me “you aren’t long for education.” I thought that was an indictment of my teaching skills, so I asked them. They all said “no, you would be a great teacher, but you won’t be one long. I give it ten years.” Seems funny now that I think back. They were right (a total of three superintendents told me that. One said I would teach for four years or less. One said ten years and the other said nine years. All three were wrong. I was a teacher for seven years) in that I didn’t teach a long time.

I still teach, but now it is more by doing a presentation. I didn’t leave teaching out of some noble obligation, some grand quest. I left because I love technology. Not that you can’t be a technologist and an educator, you can. Rather that my love of technology was on the other side. Not how things work (which makes you a better teacher I am sure) rather my interest was what could I put together. My interest was not one I could do as an educator because frankly and fairly you have to help kids achieve their educational goals first. So I left teaching in the rear view mirror.

Now I am a technologist. People ask me all the time, how do I get to where you are? I tell them two paths they can take. One is to go and be a teacher for a year. Work in a 2nd-grade classroom and be responsible for everything. The other, if they are not inclined to be around children. Is to sit on the telephone helpdesk. To be a support person for a time. That is, like teaching a way to grow the skills, so many people don’t understand.

I love technology. Without question, it has changed the world in the time I have been alive. What once was is gone. Will a robot replace you is the new issue. Will AI render your job obsolete? It won’t render teachers obsolete. We need them, to see the child come to school and to look on their arms for bruises. Sure we could build an AI system that could educate kids, but in the Elementary Years of education, kids need hugs. They need a pat on the head.

Today is a wandering day. I am stuck in a moment of memories for some reason. As if remembering was even remotely important today over every other day that I awoke to blog. It isn’t, but for some unknown reason, I am stuck in the swirl that is a memory. Remembering the way things used to be, once upon a time.

I guess there are those who years ago were right. The Superintendents who said I wouldn’t be a school teacher my whole career. They had insight and vision at that time that I didn’t have. But there were others who were wrong. Like my ex-wife who told me I was best served by selling my computer and to stop playing with writing and computers and focus on being a school teacher. Otherwise, as she left, she said I would never be anything.

Sorry, ma’am, you were wrong.

.doc

happy now…

Cool Tech and Movie Reviews!

I updated my Cloud Migration/Operations Book back in February. I kept meaning to mention on my blog, but it always fell to the bottom of my things I need to mention list. The list to my book is here included. The title is Operating Beyond your borders. It is available as a Kindle Book and as a Paperback. I designed the cover myself, so I am a proud papa!

The book focuses on the dual edged sword that is preparing an organization to move to the cloud and operate in that environment. It doesn’t go far into the concept of Hybrid cloud, however. That is something I am thinking through a lot right now.

Hybrid cloud by definition means that your cloud environment exists in two separate clouds. There are many reasons why this happens, including security, data governance and the reality of information systems. I have built some tools over the years in helping many different customers meet that migration goal, so they are all shared in the book.

I started a new geeky series on my families YouTube channel. It is all about revealing exactly what yesterday’s weather would be, today! It is mostly time-lapse video from the incredible Bloomsky weather station. I like the concept of Micro-Weather and Bloomsky is one of the best I’ve found in the space!

Another creative outlet is my new movie review column. I do restaurant reviews on Yelp and enjoy doing them, so I started adding movie reviews. I have reviewed two so far, Creator and Breaking Away. One is a movie my knees are in (Breaking Away), but half the town of Bloomington is in the movie. The other, Creator, is my all time favorite movie.

I will be posting a weekly movie review for awhile. So far they have been seen by a few people. We will see if I continue the concept. I also post weekly restaurant reviews on Yelp! Most of those are focused on restaurants near where we live, but on occasion, I do share reviews from places I have been.

The next weekend is the first the boat is in the water. That is always an exciting time of the year. In part because we move the boat this year to a new Marina. In part because I love boating! Cool boating tech features will be coming later on this spring.

One cool boating tech future product that I am super excited about is the waterproof Aguadrone! The product includes a modular done concept and allows you to have sonar to see below the surface of the water. A module that allows you to take a fishing line to the place you saw the fish, and an underwater camera that you can use to film the fish as you catch them, or just film the fish floating around in the water.

I won’t post any more cool tech stuff today. One is enough I think. Otherwise I get emails about why do I chase after so many different technologies. Or the worse ones, what is your power bill. I turn most of the devices off when I am not using them, and I have solar on the roof, so overall my power bill is less than most people think. It is probably more than I should be paying, but not as bad as it could be. I like the concept and impact of solar on the roof!

Bringing this round about post to its conclusion for today, there are some cool new things coming that I will be talking about. My movie review column is now launched and I continue my Yelp reviews. I am backing off on a number of places I contribute to now. I am considering reducing my time on Niume for example, they have a reader problem that is pretty bad. The biggest one is I get 50 to 100 impressions of each post on Twitter. 10-12 people that view my average post. Even though the actual numbers should be radically higher. The same posts on WordPress average more than 100 views. I guess they will get it right, someday.

IT Jenga©, a great game for your IT friends!

The concept of IT Jenga© is one I shared yesterday. Jenga itself;f is a very simple game. You build a tower of blocks. When the tower is complete, you either take out any of the blocks below the top three rows and place it on a new top row. In theory, the game can go on forever. In reality, the game becomes unstable after 8 to 9 turns.

IT Jenga©, on the other hand, has a slight variation in its play. You still take turns but instead of removing one, and putting it on the top, you remove one and grab two more from the other pile. IT Jenga© takes two full sets of Jenga blocks to play.

The advantage is in IT Jenga© you don’t have to build a tower. You can create a larger base. The other reality of the game is that like regular Jenga without careful playing before building your organizational Jenga tower to start; you won’t last three turns.

Organizations, and I have worked with many over the years fail at migrations. At the first problem, most teams stop the migration and either terminate it or start over. There is nothing wrong with failure which is why we here at IT Games have released IT Jenga©.

You see the beauty of IT Jenga© is that if your tower falls, you start over. You can start with once again planning your migration. You rejigger the pieces that didn’t work. You shuffle the deck again. Perhaps your base needed to be broader. Maybe you were doing too much early and too little late. Or too little early and too much late.

The path to success is not hard if organizationally you are prepared for the what and how of the migration. Every migration starts out with an incredible promise a dream if you will. We could also call it a vision but let’s go with dream as it is a little bigger than a vision. That dream, we are going to enable more with the new solution, is awesome. You can do more with the new solution than you can with the old solution.

As an organization embarking on this new journey the first thing, you do to make that dream real is your plan. Plan for success! I learned many years ago that the easy way to plan was to start by assuming you were doing and going back and reviewing what you did right. Then writing the components of the vision, the things you want to do, and write that down as the dream. Once the dream was established, you would be able to move forward.

Look, the reality of big migrations is a pain. I won’t kid you. The failure rate of migrations isn’t any higher than one would expect. The problem isn’t failure, the problem is resolved. That is why I moved that vision to a dream. You see dreams are aspirational, which means in the strictest sense that when you are playing IT Jenga© based on that dream you will pay attention to the foundation needed for success.

I want to be a doctor. Therefore, what do I need to do?

You start with the things you need. For a good game of IT Jenga,© you need a base. That base needs to be able to both support the organization but also to allow the organization to grow. In the IT Jenga,© there is a variable coin you flip. Heads you end your turn. Tails you pick up a variable card. The variable card may be something like CIO discovers that she wants to have email on her phone add two additional IT Jenga© blocks to your IT structure. Effectively instead of the three you would normally do, you instead have to do five blocks. The coin flip occurs at the end of every single turn. You could, can and will have to plan up front for variables to make it past four turns.

Good luck! I hope you enjoy IT Jenga,©!

.doc

inventor IT Jenga©,