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.



who guards the medical information in the device near you?

The concept of IoT security is one that interests me. In part because it is such a huge (and expanding)field today. In part, because it is a green field, in that people aren’t always paying attention to security when they deploy IoT devices. Lastly, it is an area that I find interesting personally. An expanding reality now is that of medical IoT Devices.

These would represent devices designed to support, improve and ultimately help you directly with various health issues. The list includes blood pressure cuffs, blood sugar monitors, pacemakers and other health improvement devices. Each of these devices providing both a path to personal health improvement as well as monitoring of your health. In some cases, the device collects data and then provides that information to your doctor. In some cases, the device presents information to you, as the user.

That information though is the interesting problem. Information that exists and can be consumed by someone other than you or your doctor. How we secure, that information will become more and more critical. You cannot allow someone to have access to your health information that you don’t grant. It allows them access to more data about you than you would want to be shared. How health and medical companies secure that data will be, and is now a very interesting conversation. The easy things to do is to have pass phrases for your passwords. Instead of a complex password you may forget, use something you will remember. Security for these devices is the responsibility of the companies in question, but it is also your responsibility because it is your data!


IoT planner

of screens and projectors…

In the past two years, I have seen an explosion of projectors and projection as a capability within and for computers and tablets, phones. Touchjet offers a projector that turns any surface around you into a touch screen, which allows you to interact with webinars and work with others online. Dos Owls have a great projector that offers (Odin) the integration of an Android Device and a projector all in one. All of them provide interesting capabilities and functionality as you dive into the world of projectors.

Now, all that said I am not doing a review or adding to my SCRaaS posts of the past few days. What I wanted to talk about today was, in fact, the screen. I have three total screens in my house, one because it was my father’s and the other two I purchased many years ago. One of the two I bought is a large portable screen I got because we often did presentations and needed a portable projector as well as a screen to project the images onto! I also have a portable speaker that doubles as a PA, but that is more because I needed an outdoor speaker for the pool than it is anything else.

The other screen is mounted in our media room. It is more just a room with a couch, and a TV and projector but it sounds better to call it a media room. It is not one of the fancy press a button, and the ceiling opens, and the screen comes down automatically. It is simply a pull-down screen. I had a pull-down screen in my classroom many years ago when I was teaching school. It just feels right to have one in my house now.

What I have found over the years is that you have to be very careful with where you put your screen. Distance and viewing angle becomes critical with a screen. A projector tends to have less overall projection power than a television does. The other thing I recommend has a professional install your screen. I had one I did myself in Indiana, and it fell off the wall twice before I realized you have to mount them a specific way.

That is why I purchased the portable screen years ago. Frankly, it can be used anywhere and never really causes issues. If it is too far from the projector, you just move it. Want to watch the really big screen in your backyard, the portable screen works.



The concept of a Screen, as a service…

In the corner of my office, I have pennant hanging. They represent my all time favorite sports teams. The reason for posting this in the technology section today is the reality of my all-time favorite sports teams. I don’t live in the cities where my favorite sports teams are, so I rely on the reality of technology to watch my favorite teams.

My all-time top favorite professional teams come from Chicago. For many years I have rooted for the Chicago Cubs, the Chicago Bears and of course the Chicago Bulls and the Chicago Blackhawks. I have those pennants on the wall of my office. I use my DVR now to catch games, and I use the favorites section of the ESPN web site to stay up-to-date on the latest and greatest news.

I do have favorite college teams, (Indiana University). I do also love the Boston Celtics and the New York Yankees (I adopted both of those because there were specific players I loved watching so I just kept watching the teams when they retired). IU is a special bond for me, one that was shared with my father for many years, so it is critical. College games are a little easier, as you can subscribe to the network of you college team and see most of the games.

Technology has radically changed the way we watch sports. Where once we waited for commercials to hit the restroom, now we can pause live TV and go when the mood strikes. Watching games in full HD is amazing, you can see so many details that were lost in old SD broadcasts. All of this got me thinking about what is next. HD or high-definition and DVR or Digital Video Recorder have changed the what and how of television. Where the Video Cassette Recorder afforded us freedom from the TV’s schedule, the DVR frees us from commercials!

Let’s end today with what I believe will be the next big thing. The combination or integration of your television and your computer. A future where you won’t have a computer monitor and television you will just have the television (SCRaaS). You will just have one screen to rule them all and on the wall bind them. Or what I have been calling the Screen as a Service for more than four years!


my screen won’t turn on

What do you need to set up an Amazon Echo in your house?

An interesting question asked yesterday that I have been pondering for awhile. First off it was a question I have considered before, but not one I have spent a lot of time considering. It is one that gave me pause from both a business and technology perspective.

What do you need for Amazon Echo?

There are easy technical answers, of course; you have to have wifi or a wired network that the device can connect to, and you have to have an Amazon account. That also means you have to have a device capable of running the Alexa application. That way you can configure the options for the device. The options include a news feed, and connecting Alexa to other devices. You can connect Alexa to the Roomba iRobot vacuums, Phillips Hue Lighting, and other interesting home automation kits. They also have an available SDK.

In fact the other day (well give or take two weeks ago) they announced the availability of the SiriusXM application for the Alexa. That allows you to listen to Sirius as well as Amazon music. Or you can listen to your music library. You can ask Alexa what the weather is and what is going on in the news. I guess to keep up with the ever increasing features of Alexa; you also need an email account to get the weekly updates.

Let me give you the list, so it makes sense.

  1. You need one of the four versions of the Amazon Echo (Dot, Original, Vision, and the new Tablet).
  2. You need an Amazon account, but it DOES NOT HAVE TO BE A PRIME ACCOUNT
  3. You need a working wifi network with internet access
  4. You need a device capable of loading the Alexa application to do setup and configuration
  5. Finally, you need time to enjoy! Alexa – play music from the Opera Carmen!