Tech Wiz Ramble (and wander)

I know, in the past three or four years I have looked at some very interesting technologies. Sure, I have opportunities to look at a lot of things, but the reality is I don’t always continue to use many things. Some of the things that appear, slowly move their way to eBay or friends. It is the evolution of the tech I need. For example for a long time, I had a home theater ceiling mounted the projector. I no longer have a ceiling mounted projector. I have one that is on the table in my theater. It is easier to move it around and connect other things to it. I had a bunch of friends over about two months ago to discuss some ideas, and we used the projector. It has built-in Harmon Kardon speakers, so the sound and the image were great!

That said I do have more projectors than I need right now. I have one that is the portable projector that I haven’t used in awhile. But, honestly, the aftermarket for projects is bad. You lose 90% of the value of the projector when you try to sell it after a year. Sad but I refuse to sell something in that mode. I will wait and donate it to a place that needs a projector and take the real value off my taxes. I have slowly over the past two months finally decided on the 360-degree cameras that I am keeping (Bubl and insta360. I suspect I will probably consider some of the other 360 cameras on the market, but for now, those are the two I am going to keep and use. The rest have been appearing on eBay over the past months.

eBay is my primary auction site and has been for a long time. I have a long time relationship that is more bad than good at this point. They, eBay continue to make it harder to harder to continue my relationship with them. Customer service is a two-way street. While there are bad people that sell online, there are also bad people that buy online. I get frustrated with eBay frequently. I vow to stop selling there and explore options, but when  you have a great selling reputation, it is really hard to walk away. Customer service is so critical, eBay is a little better than Indiegogo, but since IndieGoGo is so horrific, honestly it really isn’t hard for eBay to be better. The bar is slow…


The Tech Wiz

Don’t be afraid to learn something new

I have wandered in the tech world now for more than 30 years. During that time I have seen many great technologies rise, and fall. It is one of the things I love about crowdfunding. You get to participate in the new, long before it is available to the general public. In fact, you get to be an early adopter of many things. I find that intriguing and frankly fun. But I have also come to realize that not everyone likes to be on the cutting edge. They search the internet for articles that help them reach their overall goals of figuring out what will work for what they want to do. Everyone has skills that are specific to them, each of us knows. There isn’t anything a human being cannot learn.

My father, who spent his life as an educator used to say “be a lifelong learner.” Try, evaluate and consider new things. In trying new things, you help yourself continue to move forward.  The adage “You can’t teach an old dog new tricks.” Just isn’t true, my dog is nearly eight years old, and he learns new tricks all the time. His newest one is to remind me it is time for his dinner by sitting on my lap and being sweet. He isn’t by any means a lapdog, nor, did he do this behavior a year ago or even two years ago. He learned it recently. People are often willing to give up on technology in part because it is scary and in part because they feel they can’t learn how to use it. The old 12:00 flashing on VCR’s back in the day.

Don’t give up on yourself. Yes, the rate of technology releases in our world has increased rapidly in the past five years. It seems hard to learn the new things you need to stay even. How do I watch a show on Netflix? How do I search the internet for a specific good or service? I need directions to a place I have never been to in the past. There was a time when my wife made fun of my love of GPS technology. Now, because of her job, but also because she was willing to learn, she can’t live without her GPS. It is easy to put ourselves in a box and say I am going to know the things I need to know. That, by the way, is fair, but don’t assume because you are a Bus Driver, you can’t learn how to use Google Home. Or Alexa, or Keecker or any other device such as that.

You, are only limited by you!



Tech Wiz Ramble (and poll)

To celebrate my new column, Tech Wiz Rambles, I would like to share a few places you can read other content I produce.

My Podcast

My Youtube Channel


I create a lot of content in a month. I work with a number of crowdfunding campaigns and over the years have managed to accumulate a large collection of people and technologies to consider.. But also, because I think about a lot of things. I have decided to embrace Carol’s suggestion and from time to time, two, maybe three times a week release a Tech Wiz Ramble column. I also embraced that as the name for occasional podcasts at the link above. My YouTube channel is mostly devoted to Yesterday’s Snarky Weather forecast. I would like to point out since I started predicting yesterday’s weather in the Washington DC area, I haven’t been wrong once!  So far my predictions of yesterday’s weather have been right every single time.

I don’t review something I don’t own, but I also pay attention to the reality of the market. I’ve made a couple of missteps, overall, but I do try to avoid falling into the trap of just because it looks cool.

I am making this column a poll, and the reason for this poll is to continue to refine what y’all are interested in. Sometimes my tech columns aren’t spot on to what people want or need. I understand that but would also like to make sure I cover things that help you or benefit you as well. To finish up today’s share I want to let people know that my cloudtweaks posts tend to either be more on the comedic or more on the really serious technology side.

Thanks all! Let me know what you think below.


Link to poll

Tech Wiz Ramble…

I would like to point out, that I have never had a home office with a window. In fact, since we moved from Bloomington Indiana to Cincinnati Ohio, I have had a home office, but always in the basement.  At least now I have two windows in the room across from my office. In Cincinnati, Greenwood and our first house in Maryland I was in a true basement. In Greenwood, like our house now it was a walkout basement, but I was in the corner of the basement, and there was no way to see the windows. I am not complaining about this I am whining. I feel, based on the fact that I am doing this, that there is a significant difference between complaining and whining. I am the only one I suspect, but I wanted to lay it out there.

Rant off

I have been going through the stuff in my office, slowly but surely getting rid of things I don’t use. The reality of stuff is that sometimes it collects. The act of collection is where you run into trouble. Some of the stuff I don’t need I posted to eBay. Some of the stuff I added to my goodwill pile. We make a monthly goodwill run; they are a great charity that offers both an opportunity to donate, but also to know you are also helping people that deserve help! Over the years there have been times we also gave to other groups that collect things you no longer need.

I am going to take a break from the robot economy posts for a few days. I have a lot of ideas, but there are other things I want to ponder.

For example, I am always interested in the concepts of electronic whiteboards. Using the Surface Studio, I have expanded my capabilities in the space. I now only use the Surface Studio as my web meeting client. I use it for some other things, but it is my go-to web meeting client. Except when it is work related, then I use my work laptop. The smart board is another tool I find useful (SmartKapp), and of course I still have the beam system. Honestly, I haven’t used the beam system now, in nearly a year, I will probably put it back on eBay. The value of the other systems I have is that they are extremely portable, or much easier to use overall. I do understand that I probably spend more time in online meetings than most people do so my interest in that space may just be my interest.


Tech Wiz Ramble (and a poll for what should the WIz ramble on)…

One of the things that I came to realize the change to the new Tech Wiz blogs from time to time was that I should open up the future topics to the readers. There are a few categories I will propose and a few technologies I will propose as well. Finally, there are some technologies that I can review that I will offer for you, the readers to consider. In the short run beyond the poll let’s continue the Robot Economy series. The reality of what is coming, or for those who remember Dr. Strangelove, how I learned to love a robot. First of all, there are supporting robots that I mentioned yesterday. One of the types of supporting robot you can get is the Shark or iRobot vacuuming robots.

Another interesting robot is the future state surgery robot. This allows a surgeon who has extensive experience with a particular surgery, to perform that surgery in another city. The future of robotics lies with the reality of 5g networks and increased bandwidths. Remote robotics also allow a master technician to support many more aspiring technicians. If needed the master tech can step in remotely and walk the aspiring tech through the process. The addition of AR/VR solutions to this allows the aspiring tech to have the confidence of a fall back (the master tech taking over) and the reality of all the solutions that have worked in the past (AR/VR) increasing the reliability of the overall system.

Finally today, in the robotic economy that is coming, I wish to carry an idea proposed by Albert Herdianto Widjojo.

   His concept is very simple will the future economy involve the creation of jobs where humans are free to solve problems. Thinking solutions to paraphrase the great line (I included above a link to his profile, his posts are as thought-provoking as his questions are)!

  1. The future will include more robotic replacement of human jobs. Tasks and mundane activities won’t be required of humans anymore.
  2. Creativity and innovative ideas will continue to be an area where humans will excel!

Another area where while robots will assist, humans will continue to drive innovation! Thanks, Albert for the great addition!

(Below potential future columns poll)

Link to poll



the Robot economy…

First of all, let’s break the robotic market up into two distinct categories – service and manufacturing. The reason for that is quite simple. The cost of goods is greater for manufacturing, the cost savings from automation is significant there. Services are another area that robots can impact the economy quickly. I would like today to discuss the positive side of this impact and then focus on what needs to be done not to get run over in this new economy. There are jobs and tasks on an assembly line that you can automate for efficiency. There are things that require humans to intervene and evaluate, but many things that do not. The biggest area however that won’t replace humans is that of services.

First off, services are where you can have a robotic unit (Jibo) placed at home or the home of an elderly parent or parents. Jibo will allow you to interact with your parent remotely, remaining them to take pills, checking in on them and allowing them to connect to you with only their voice (you can also do that with Alexa devices, connected to your phone).In this scenario, you can reduce the cost of helping your parents stay independent. You can also reduce the miles between where you are and where your parents are by simply having a remote device like Jibo.  Overall this is the highest growth area in the short run, which actually will help the economy more than it hurts the economy today.

Helping in the sense that you will be purchasing a device, that device requires human interaction to create and manage. That is a plus employment solution. We are not talking about situations where home health care is required (My wife is a hospice Social Worker I am well aware of the difference between dependence and independence). Using these devices will allow parents to remain where they are comfortable for longer (not just parents, aunts, uncles, grandparents and so on). This represents a non-impact on healthcare professionals that don’t engage with parents, aunts, and uncles in these situations anyway. That gives us a net increase overall in jobs (people that make, program and manage the robots). That is a great starting point!



The concept of the future robot economy…

Interactive or connected robotic devices are a growing market. JIBO, Keecker, and others are shipping now. There are also, a growing number of soon to be shipping robots that offer some interesting capabilities. Lummo is a robot from the makers of the SEGWAY, a robot that encompasses the future state of personal locomotion and interactive robotics. There is, of course, the long-stated fear (Robots will take my job. Robots will replace me). It is, as one of the twins said, the economy changes. The evolution of the economy continues, and the twin was right. I understand that there is a fear of Robots taking our jobs, but the other side of what we may achieve and what we will be freed from is simply incredible.If I think about the changing economy, I realize that there are jobs at risk. Repetitive jobs and can be replaced with a robot that reduces the cost of goods sold is good for the economy (but not good for the workers). In fact, if we think about it, the assembly line work that can be replaced by a robot today will require a robotic repair person (Software, hardware, and integration) that is going to get paid a premium. The factory cannot afford to be down, which creates the need for the higher paying services jobs. There won’t be as many of those jobs as there is the actual factory floor assembly line. There would still be a need for a quality control person, and a couple of people that understand how the line works, to reset the robots when errors occur.

Where there are 100 people operating the line today, there will probably be 40 people in the future.  The 40 remaining workers will probably make the same amount of money as the 100 did combined (their skills are something that will require training, retraining, and updating). The real question then would be what do we do with the 60 jobs that are lost.  First, I am not saying those jobs are going to go away today, or even tomorrow. Many of them will be around for 5 – 10 more years if not more. I am just advocating that we consider what can be done now, to begin solving the problem of lost jobs tomorrow. I started thinking about the digital economy and what jobs are going to become more needed going forward. That, of course, made me realize there are many jobs that robots could quickly replace that would probably, in the long run, be better for the people with the jobs replaced. They can move to jobs with less wear and tear on them, and so on.

I am going to share some of my initial thinking on how we can embrace the new robotic economy in a future post. For now, it is time to start thinking about how can we reduce the impact of the job changes forced by new economic reality.


robot fan