It is not the information age we are approaching, it is the entertainment age!

The art of the possible, or the evolution of home entertainment. When I was a kid, which I have mentioned before but it is still relevant, we had four channels on the TV. There was a 5th channel, but for the most part, unless it was perfect weather, we didn’t have anything other than images of polar bears playing in the arctic. (Nice way of saying snow).

It was the rise of cable television that changed all of that. It, cable TV, also prepared us for the later changes that required the high-speed access cable companies could provide us to the internet. Now we are at another tipping point when it comes to the internet, and I’ve talked about that problem so many times I am not going to waste time again today. Instead, I want to talk about entertainment as it pertains to the reality of what you do on a Friday night. According to the various organizations that watch the internet, most people flip on Netflix. As in, Netflix represents more than 50% of the total bandwidth consumed on the internet on a Friday night. Netflix provides an interesting extension of what people consume and how. The other side of the five channels we had on good days, was that you watched TV when the show was on or you waited for reruns in the summer. VCR’s and then DVR’s changes the when and how of viewing Netflix, Amazon, and Hulu have created the reality of on demand (as has iTunes and Google play) releasing us not only from what we watch but also where we watch and on what device we are watching.

The wonder and joy of information available at your beck and call. We have not entered the long propounded information age, we have entered the entertainment age, the one right before information takes over!



Why I post and where as well…

There are some things I do as a technologist all the time. One of my favorite personal running jokes is my posting of Yesterday’s Weather. It, the weather forecast for yesterday, fills my YouTube channel. I usually have some crazy thing to say about yesterday’s weather. In reality, my predictions based on focusing on yesterday’s weather versus what might happen today or tomorrow pushes my prediction reliability rate to 100%. I haven’t been wrong yet!

Another media thing I do every single month (well I try I do not always succeed) is to post a podcast. Part of my podcast has always been continuing the conversation from my blog in a more informal, personal way. It is me continuing my side of the conversation. I also can say that in fact the only place you can get Fred and Ed stories is on my podcast.

The last media thing I am doing is sharing my families digital pictures. That I am doing on as they have a very nice photo album and blog feature that makes everything work together nicely! My rule is I am sharing all pictures and not editing them before posting them.

All of these media sources and media postings are things I have been doing for awhile. It brings together my love of technology and my love of sharing. I have argued for a long time that one of the things that cause organizations to struggle is the creation of expert cultures (ask Jim, or Sally they are the only people that know the answer). To create a sharing culture, it is critical that you share! That is why I focus on and continue to share information in my blogs, pictures, podcast and Yesterday’s Weather forecast!


Techno geek

Some fun techy things for a Saturday…

I am not going to comment on the current US political situation. In part because I have no idea what to say and in part because I have many non-US readers who probably don’t care. Actually, not that I don’t care, but frankly the sheer frustration having the conversation is more than I want to deal with at this point.

The reason for the initial statement has to do with the news that I get in my inbox every morning. I need to shut off the many news feeds I am getting. It just frustrates me every morning. I will not succumb to sharing my opinions and thoughts. Enough people do that as it is.

There are several cool projects that I am excited about right now from a technology perspective. The interesting cool-tech project first off is the Raspberry Shake. In fact, you can get one for yourself, or your child’s school (donation) at their shop right now.On the link you can also get a discount coupon. Enter RSEND17 in the coupon space, and you’ll get a discount, and you or your school get a Seismograph!

They (Raspberry Shake) also have a Kickstarter Campaign going for their newest product, the 4d. You can find that one here if you want to back one.

Add a seismograph to your weather data, so you know why the ground is shaking and well, what is happening at your house right now. Even on days that were bad it is still more fun to watch my YouTube channel with the many time-lapse weather videos I’ve shared than reading the news. I promise it is a lot more fun!!



On the road to 100 reviews and IG/KS stuff

One of the things I’ve done over the past five years is Yelp Reviews. I enjoy writing restaurant reviews and am approaching my 100th yelp review. I don’t know why I decided that is a huge milestone, but it is for me. So I am trying to figure out what to do with number 100. 97 is the next review up, and I have a couple of ideas. Number 100 is important to me, but I have no clue yet what to do.

I started out my Yelp Reviews doing more negative than positive reviews. I reviewed two organizations that at best had horrible customer service. I then decided it would be more fun to focus instead on the good and great restaurants and customer service experiences around me. I started posting more and more positive reviews and only posting horrible reviews for the bad customer service experiences we all have. The funny thing is I don’t review technology on Yelp, but I do review companies and restaurants that provide customer service. Perhaps for number 100, I should do a review of Yelp itself!

Yelp, Indiegogo, and Kickstarter are places you vote for success with money. You either spend money (food or items) on Yelp, or you pledge money on Indiegogo and Kickstarter. I am still deeply concerned with the number of projects on Indiegogo that disappear. They get money and then they are gone. I don’t wander to Indiegogo as often now, as I did before. I still have 16 outstanding projects that never communicated after they got the money. Oh well sad that people act that way in the end.

I am proud of my approaching 100 on Yelp! I am honestly well past 100 projects funded on Indiegogo and Kickstarter. I still log onto Kickstarter frequently just to see what is happening. I won’t fund projects on Indiegogo because of the project gap, but Kickstarter is only at 2, and both of the projects announced that they were discontinuing the technology because it just wasn’t possible.

Now if I could only decide what to review for number 100 on Yelp!



Waterproof truly means something…

Water proof versus water resistant. First off, it only matters if you are near water, or get rained on. It matters more for people that are out on the water, then for people that are just near water. Water proof for your camera is critical if it goes into the water, i.e., Ocean, River, Lake, Swimming pool or just a large puddle. One of the things that make me angry is the misleading reality of water proof and water resistant ads. First off, water resistant means if the device gets wet it should be ok. If it is submerged in more than a foot of water, then you have a problem. Water proof should mean that the device can be completely underwater and can, in fact, be more than a foot under the water without damage.For digital cameras that often means up to 30 feet of water.

For example, the Olympus TG-5 camera can be submerged up to 30 feet underwater. If you add the case from Olympus, you can take it 300 feet underwater, but I don’t go that deep sot he 30 feet is enough for me! Why is the reality of Fake News creeping into the reality of digital cameras? If the camera is water proof that means the camera can be submerged. If you are water resistant than the camera can get wet (rain, salt spray) but cannot be submerged. I.e. if it can’t be submerged underwater pictures aren’t viable.The reality of these cameras is quite simple. If, when you see the camera you can open the battery case with the press of a single button it is likely not a water proof camera. Why? Because to be water proof they have to add seals and gaskets. No seals, no gaskets make the camera case easy to open, and therefore easy for water to get in!

Batteries don’t like water. Neither, by the way, do S.D. cards! Water proof cameras are a blast to use by the way, in particular, underwater imaging is fun. It makes me feel like I am Jock Cousteau when I take underwater pictures!


water resistant human

when will solar power arrive?

Home of the future, or what can I do to automate? I had the honor of hearing a speaker from the City of Amsterdam last year. He talked about their alternative power project, their electricity plugs on city streets for electric cars and a few interesting experiments they had conducted. What I found interesting were the things they learned about power and people. First, they had installed solar on roofs, given people smart appliances and electric cars (this was done by neighborhoods to control costs but also reduce variables). The thing they learned that I found most incredible was the reality of power. During the day most houses ended up moving further and further down the use vs. production scale. The reality of transactional energy was the ability to pull that overage in production into the traditional energy grid. The other thing they learned (and the speaker was hilarious, so this was presented very well) was that when people get home in electric cars, they wish to charge them. In many cases, people weren’t home until the sun had already set, which meant the charging of their electric cars caused a spike in the grid as they plugged in their cars.

That remains the interesting reality that most cities will face as they move towards transactional energy. The other reality for most of the cities that will be interesting is the reality of regulation. What country is going to lead the way with a zoning regulation that says if your building is over ten stories, 40% or more of the roof has to be solar panels? Just that in a city with a million people would reduce the impact of buildings significantly. Add to that the reality of transaction energy (over production is shared back to the grid) and there is energy moving around cities of the world at a much lower cost than production.

All of this moving us towards the smart home of tomorrow. A self-energy is producing home that doesn’t require power grids as its only supply. With smart appliances that sip power instead of gulp, with electric cars and effectively a future state where we use less energy. Or better yet, we use the renewable energy sources that reduce the impact of humanity on our environment. The future of home automation has already begun in many European Cities. The question is who will be the first to have the ten story rule?



What is the first device you turn on in the morning?

One of my favorite questions to ask people has to do with one of two things. What is the last physical book you read is one of them? The other I love to ask is when you wake up in the morning what is the first thing you do that requires thought. The reason for the question is a baseline on how people think. It also tells you a lot about the person if they simply answer the question or they stop and think. You see, in the way they answer they also tell you a lot about the nature of their personality.

The other day I was talking to a blogger that I know. She does a blog on advanced technologies, and we have been emailing for years. The other day she told me about an interview she had with a company, where the first question they asked her was what is the one technology you have to have right now.

She asked me the same question, so I am going to answer it, publically! Her rationale by the way as a friend for sticking me with the question is that I had asked her the second of my favorite questions many years ago when she interviewed for a job. So my answer to her question follows. What is the first technology you use every day? The easy answer is Fitbit; it put it on first thing in the morning to capture the steps I am taking. The other easy answer is the cell phone because I pick it up and wander down to my office to blog. But the harder answer is what do I use next? That, what is next, is wholly dependent on the day and what I need to get done. In no particular order the following:

Home PC (where these blogs are created)

Work PC (well that is an easy explanation

Monitor (Both are connected to it)

Or finally my iPad

In no particular order, those are the devices I turn on first. Sometimes I turn on the lights but I don’t think lights are considered devices anymore. What is your list?



Why you need a digital camera…

What can you see? One of the things that amaze me is the addition of capabilities to cameras in the past five or so years. Yes, I am still on my have a digital camera rather than rely on your cellular phone kick, but beyond that, you can add a variety of functional additions to your camera collection. I like the Go-Pro cameras a lot. I find them useful and reliable. You can get 360-degree cameras as well; there are several including Bubl and Camora that offer features and functions that are simply amazing. You can also get the Seek cameras that allow you to see infrared or incoming cold and outgoing cold pending the season and if you are inside or outside your house.

Digital cameras truly expand the ability of the user to do more. I post the pictures I take all the time. Where once you were limited to 24 pictures per roll or 36 pictures per roll, and then wait two weeks to get the images back either prints or slides, now it is instantaneous. I find on average when I start taking pictures I take between 50 to 100 every single time. If there is something interesting, I will take 200 pictures a day or more. My daughter, my wife and I took more than 6500 pictures the 11 days we were in Europe last year.

The ever growing expansion of capabilities in the digital camera world begs two distinct and different questions. The first being are you backing your pictures up? Back in the day, having one copy of your photographs put you at risk. In particular at risk, because if you had a fire, you didn’t have pictures any longer. In the digital world, the reality is similar, in that if you only have one copy of your pictures than you are one disaster away from no copies. The other reality is that of the digital camera vs. the Cellular camera. I still maintain the quality differences are so significant that many more people should have digital cameras. At the very least, so you don’t destroy your cellular phones batteries.

Capabilities you can have continued to expand. Storage is cheap and well the images taken with your camera are good (cellular pictures are ok, not as good). The changes in the past five years are amazing. Add to that the sheer raw additional number of pictures, and it is time for both a digital camera and for a backup strategy!


digital camera fan

Where was meets could be again…

I have a plaque from IBM with an OS2 certification on it. I keep it to remind me of the starting point. It is next to my Microsoft Shipit award. You get a plaque piece for every product you help a ship in the product group (I have two) I would have more, but web releases and updates don’t get ship it awards. I am proud of the places I’ve come from professionally. I also have two awards on the wall from my days as a school teacher.

Now, don’t take this as bragging. Like everyone over time, you get things that are reminders of where you started. I have pennants of my favorite sports teams on the wall of my office, and I have images of my family. I also have wall stickers of the Minions from the Despicable Me movies. My starting point as a technologist was learning how things fit together as far as technology.

During the years of my IT career, I have progressed through technologies. In part because I see things evolving and I move towards that evolution naturally. In part because I am a consultant, and you need to be aware of what is happening in the IT world around you. IoT has been my recent passion, the cloud was my big passion earlier in this century, and between cloud and IoT I have sandwiched a lot of time thinking about, helping build and ultimately evaluating the reality of Cloud Brokers. I still believe Cloud Brokers will rise; it seems like the reality of IaaS, and the IaaS market makes cloud brokers more valuable.

Part of the fun of looking at my OS2 certification is a reminder that we were once there. Now, we aren’t there and we’ve moved on. Being aware of where we could go is part of why I love being in IT.



Why is it so hard to just move to cloud computing?

One of the things I often talk about with customers is the reality of buy vs. build. A conversation that expands beyond simply just infrastructure, applications and does you build your own or buy what is out there? Cloud computing makes this into a what do I want to manage conversation as well.  In the conversation, I usually start off with the email conversation. When I was first in IT, now 30 plus years ago, many companies had multiple mail systems, and some even built their own. With the rise of SMTP mail, most companies that wrote their systems moved to COTs or FOSS mail systems. Why? Because the cost of keeping up with the Jones made building your mail system far too expensive.

Today, cloud computing in the infrastructure space makes it difficult in the short run to decide and determine what you are going to do. The reality of advertising intercedes at this time, first off you are not going to save 20% moving to the cloud. The reality of the  20% savings mark is NOT that it is spread over all the customers of a provider and is most likely a watermark or high level. It is not an accumulated average across all customers. The other things you have to be aware of is the reality of migration. Migrations are painful at times. They are frustrating at other times. Most organizations struggle with migrations, in part because they buy into the expert culture. Experts are focused on a specific point in time solutions, and in a migration, you need to have someone that can step back and say “there are other ways to solve this problem.”

What was once an easy conversation is now much more complex and much harder to have. Effectively you need to have the migration conversation first, then the cloud conversation. Effectively the new world order should be talk to the person with migration scars first, then figure out if you can make the new world order work for your organization.

The tools, concepts and models as well as the service calculator system are detailed in my book.