Sometimes we offend…

I started my IT career as a mail administrator. It meant, then, that I got between 100 and 200 critical emails a day. I developed, and still, have the very bad habit of not sending or replying to long emails. I tend to send short emails. I realize I do that from time to time, if you don’t know me, you may be offended. I thought it would be prudent to share, that I normally don’t respond to emails with long discourses. I know I probably should, but it is one of those things that is hard to change.

Sometimes I am oblivious to the offense, not personally meaning to offend anyone. Based on that I feel like I should also apologize for the offense not intended if taken. I spend a lot of time talking about and sharing both communications patterns and anti=patterns. They, the two, are linked. Patterns show repeatable processes. Anti-patterns are the opposite of patterns for the most part. Anti-patterns are also repeatable and structured. They are different only in the impact when referring to communications.

One of the biggest impacts is the miss mixing of patterns and the mixing of some patterns and some anti-patterns. I think, having spent a lot of time considering the reality of communication that sometimes it is important to apologize. I don’t care how smart you are, how nice you are or whatever it is that makes you great; you will offend someone. The best of us offend by accident. The worst of us do it on purpose. But all of us, from time to time should just say “sorry, I did not mean to offend.”

unless of course you do (or I did) mean to offend.


Communications wanderer

Home Automation is coming (well its here now but it is coming)!

One of the things I like to do is look at the edge of the possible technology horizon. I am an early embracer and adopter of many technologies. Home automation was a thing I chased four or five years ago. Now it is a lot more mainstream, and I look for products that integrate with one of my automation hubs. I still find the reality of uniqueness to be a limiter in the broader market adoption of home automation. There are far too many ways to solve the problem today.

Alexa does a great job bringing together some point in space solutions. I use Alexa today to integrate the following:

  • Bloomsky for temperature and live weather from my house
  • iRobot to turn on the vacuum other than at the planned time
  • Canary for home security

I use Control4 for the major components of my home automation including home audio/video and other automation tasks (lights).

I started before Apple and Microsoft brought a broader capability to your house. The home automation capabilities built into Windows and iOS are pretty impressive. On my iPhone, I connected to lights and other tools quickly. You can buy a mattress cover that reports your sleep, which connects to your cellular phone. The capabilities and abilities of the home automation space are incredible right now.

Simply select home on your iPhone, and you can connect aware devices.

You can also remotely lock your house, remotely turn your lights on and off, as well as turn your alarm system on or off from anywhere in the world. Automation is the future, but it is also here now!


automation fan

Of posting and sharing, why it is important to be fair.

There are some things I post and share. I am a firm believer in two things; the first is it is important to share your thoughts and ideas. The second is that the application of rules is the responsibility of everyone involved. We walked by a police officer giving a driver a ticket the other day. The reason for the ticket had to do with the fact that there are two lanes that become one lane on the road that leads to our subdivision.

About a week ago there was an accident because a lot of people come up in the right lane and speed up to pass the other drivers. It didn’t work for whatever reasons, and there was a collision, so then the police were forced to patrol that area and give out tickets. You see when people don’t enforce the rules themselves the police or other authorities are forced to do so. It becomes a vicious cycle until everyone realizes it is important to enforce the rules you can.

The fewer authorities have to engage in the enforcement of rules, the easier it is to get things done! When the authorities have to stop paying attention to big issues and take care of small issues, you end up with a different issue in the long run. There is an old saying, who will guard the guardians. You can expand that to also who can help the guardians and when they are chasing small problems instead of the large ones.

A lot of people spend a lot of time and energy complaining about the way things are. But they do nothing to fix the problems that cause many people frustration. Be responsible, if some cheats report them. Free up the authorities to work on bigger problems.

The other thing is sharing. I believe in sharing information. As such, here is a link to my podcast.  I just shared two new podcasts.

I also share images from my Bloomsky weather station as often as I can, I call that Yesterday’s Weather!


The value of IP is in the act of sharing!

Just another shameless review Logitech Keyboard and Trackball!

I recently, after being a Logitech customer for a long time, decided to get a new keyboard. I decided to get the new Logitech Keyboard and while doing so also decided to upgrade or replace my mouse. I was torn between a mouse or a trackball. Years ago as a Macintosh user, I loved my trackball. I decided to try the new Logitech MX ERGO 90 wireless trackball. I also decided to try the new Logitech Craft Keyboard. As a long time customer, they send coupons, so I was able to get both for less than the retail price.

The trackball reduces the wear and tear on my wrist, allowing my wrist to be stable as I use the trackball. The setup was incredibly easy. Logitech has a universal connector that you plug into a USB port on your computer. That universal connector has connection software. You then go in, select add a device, and you have a new device. For the trackball, I like the feel of the rolling ball and the overall buttons. The battery (it is rechargeable) has lasted about six days of ongoing use (every day for at least two hours). The trackball is heavy enough that it doesn’t move on the table I keep it on.

The Craft Keyboard is one I have been looking at for awhile. It is heavier than the previous keyboard I had. Additionally, it is a mix of metal and plastic. Keyboards are 99% the keys, however. The keys to the Craft are easy to use, and they don’t slow me down while typing. The other thing I like is that the keyboard lights up (backlit) when it moves or when you are typing. That allows me to reduce the number of lights in my office by a full set. Full lighting is annoying. Less lighting is even better!

Overall I give the combination of the two devices a 9 out of 10.


Shameless cool tech reviewer!

A wander, to wander, wandering technology

In the past few years, I have spent a lot of time seeking the perfect VOIP setup. I do a lot of meetings in my job, many of which are online. I find that there are three things I need. The first is the ear noise canceling headsets. I need that because honestly, it is a more natural feel for me. It is a personal choice, I know for a long time I considered, evaluated and owned the one ear smaller earbuds. I always found myself either having to reach up to more often to adjust them or to push them into my ear more. I would love to hear what other people think is critical in headsets so feel free to comment!

For a long time, I also chased printers, but that phase is no longer as critical for me. We are down to three printers in the house; I suspect we won’t go below 3. Two are specialty printers (color laser and large format plotter).  It is an interesting change for me; I used to love having a good printer. Now I don’t care as much. I do have a Canon photo printer, but that is more to print the occasional picture.

The other things I often consider or evaluate are keyboards and Mice. I switched recently to a new keyboard and mouse (trackball actually) from Logitech. I will do a review in a couple of weeks. Keyboards is something that bloggers focus on. The better your keyboard, the easier it is to produce content! I find myself often considering the fragility of keyboards. In fairness to the companies that make them, I drop them on occasion. I need a keyboard that has a strong case. I am not a big fan of the newer mechanical keyboards, but I have tried a couple of them.

Time to roll!


Edge computing…

One of the technologies that I am interested in currently is the growing world of air quality devices. It comes from my ever-growing love of remote data, remote or edge sensors and weather information.There are some interesting air quality sensors on the market. First, the NetATMO system includes an air quality sensor as well as an indoor coach. The indoor coach focuses on the quality of the air in a specific space, but also, the sound and other variables.

IT is one of those things that I think about. In part because the presence of higher amounts (non-toxic) of CO presents interesting problems. The other side is the Ozone levels in the outside air and of course, the UV level. All of these things are components of what I like to measure.

The reality of what is called Edge Computing adds some flavor to the conversation. Edge computing is pushing the computing required for data analysis to the edge of the network. Bloomsky is an interesting implementation of that (Bloomsky is a time-lapse video weather station). Part 1, the computing required to measure wind, rainfall, and temperature as well as UV levels are processed on the device. The time-lapse video is processed offline and reloaded back into the station for you to consume.

Other edge devices go even further at this point, processing and analyzing the data they are collecting as far from the user consuming as is possible. Edge, Cloud and the Internet of Things are all relevant conversations to have as you consider the reality of measuring air quality, weather and other using the distributed nature of Edge. Edge has a risk of course, like anything the how and what of security is critical.

As we go forward in this space, there is so much to come.



Are rules important?

One of my father’s favorite saying was “keep honest people honest.” I used to wonder what he meant for the longest time until I started putting together the communications patterns and anti-patterns. You see the internet is the wild-wild west. Wild, in that I don’t see, or talk to you most likely in person. Wild in the sense that the username you have, isn’t always your name. Wild in the sense that there are lots of places to hide.

Because it is the wild-wild west, then it means that users of systems have to take the time to make sure other users are following the rules. Complaining about people cutting corners is fine, but you also have to make sure that you follow the rules. The only way a site can improve is if we let them know when people aren’t following the rules. Responsibility is doing the right thing, not hoping the next person does the right thing. It comes back to what my father said. Keep honest people honest, if people cut corners, let them know. If they keep cutting corners on websites, let the admins know. It is when someone cuts corners, your job to keep things moving forward.

The reality is, and the argument you are going to hear about this is I don’t want to be the police.  No one does, but by simply reporting bad behavior you are doing two things. The first is you are helping the rule breaker operate within the rules. The second is you are reducing the amount of churn for other site users by reducing the number of people not following the rules. Ask not for the whole the bell tolls; it is always tolling for you. We as members of groups have to help keep honest people honest. We have to make sure that when people break the rules, we first them personally and then we report that.

Otherwise we live in the wild-wild west.


rule bender