Tech Wiz on missed Tech trends

I realized yesterday that I don’t have a Fischer Space Pen. I know, over the years I wanted one. I know I used one a couple of times, loaned to me by someone that had one. I know it was hard to release the borrowed space pen. I know that I have had the money to buy one for a long time, but I think I am looking for someone to give me one. To me, that would be the ultimate geek gift. Only made better by a marketing certificate (used in the ISS, or launched into space by SpaceX). The reality of pens is that they aren’t as important now, as they were. I just know that I would like to have a space pen! Like the astronauts used all those years ago. My dad had one for awhile, but like many things, it was gone a long time ago.

That got me thinking about technologies and things that have passed that I missed out on. For many years at the beginning of my using computers, I was an Apple person. I had an Apple IIc, Apple IIgs and then moved to the Macintosh Family. I moved to only owning a PC around 1996. I missed out on a couple of computers that I considered buying many years ago. The Kaypro was a computer I thought about. When it came out, it was designed as a computer for writers. It had an embedded copy of Wordstar. It launched quickly, and unlike the Apple or PCs of that time, it had enough onboard memory that you could get running fast. I never got one, but every time I saw one I thought about it.

I have missed out on some other technology trends over the years. I never really considered the Betamax systems. I did, however, buy the HDDVD player from Toshiba. I still have 12 HDDVD games. I also got a laserdisc player, 9Poineer) and have more than 40 laser discs, still. Those are technology forks in the roads that I have gone down.  Share, if you care to, in the comments some interesting technology detours you’ve gone down. There are so many, and for the most part, they rise and fall pretty quickly. Laserdiscs were big for about five years. There are things you can do with a laserdisc you can’t do with a DVD, but they faded quickly. HDDVD was a great format, but Sony had learned the lesson of Betamax, and Bluray was dominant quickly. What trends have you missed out on? Or jumped on that didn’t pan out?

.doc

Tech Wiz on Heroes…

I think about heroes from time to time. In part because my heroes change over time. When I was nine years old, Thomas Jefferson was my hero. When I learned more about him, he was my hero when I was 15. When I finally learned the full story, he was no longer my hero. My grandfather and father were my heroes and still are, but that is more normal I suspect. Robert Montgomery Knight remains a hero. I felt like he was an incredible coach and he remains a pretty good person. I do not, since wandering away from Jefferson often select heroes from the world of politics. I do, however, personally find the behavior, actions, and presence of Barack Obama to be another hero in recent years.

That got me thinking, what is a hero? Bill Gates is and was a hero of mine for many years. His willingness to do the right things is something that I have found impressive over the years.  I do also have heroes from the world of sports as well. Ernie Banks, Ryne Sandberg is former Cubs players that I have long admired. Walter Payton is my all time favorite professional football player. Payton is also a hero of mine because of who and what he was as a person.

What is a hero? Someone that is exceptional or someone that behaves exceptionally? I find both to be true, but the latter is always the critical one for me. Jefferson didn’t behave well in the last few years of his life. Based on that he slipped from my hero garden. I haven’t really replaced Jefferson with another of the first US leaders, many of them had honor, but most of them also had a few warts.

The reality of heroes is they have to live up to your expectation.

.doc

tech Wiz

Tech Wiz on speakers!

Sonos is the wireless speaker system I have embraced and adopted over the past six years. We started down the path of Sonos when we first moved to Maryland. We got our first Soundbar (we have two now). Simply put I compared the sound of the Bose and Sonos, and I found them both to be about the same. Cost wise was about the same, but since heading down the path, things have changed. Sonos has embraced the Alexa system from Amazon. You can also control the Bose speakers with Alexa, but for me, it was a win-win when the new Sonos integrated Alexa speaker came out. That is the speaker I use in my office to play music, Jeopardy and interact with my Sonos system.

We have Sonos speakers in five rooms of our house right now. The sound quality they produce is amazing. The Sonos speakers are also integrated with our home automation system (Control4) allowing us to play records, CDs and anything else we want throughout our entire house. Alexa can also interact with the Sonos speakers in one room or every room. It makes our entire house a haven for sound when we need it. The next integration points I am looking for are Keecker adding a Sonos application (it might be there in the Google Play store, but more Keecker being aware of and able to use the Sonos speakers). Over the years I have always had speakers and a home stereo, now I have less of a stereo, and more speakers!

For me, the future of home entertainment is a mix of the capabilities of Keecker, and Sonos. While I have been a Dish Network Customer for more than 20 years, I no longer see Dish as part of my future. I suspect I will be a subscriber for two, maybe three more years. But now, the things I am considering and find important aren’t always available on regard or what is called network tv.  My children no longer watch TV at all. They do streaming and seldom watch live TV. We could probably turn in their receivers now. I think at some point in the next few days I am going to do a poll about the future of home entertainment. I am trying not to flood Virily with a poll a day!

Tech Wiz

Tech Wiz 360 degree camera post!

The easy button for me in the world of 360 cameras is the reality of functionality. To date, I’ve played with a number of the cameras on the market, and to date, Bubl remains the best answer. I am slowly getting rid of the rest of my “360” collection. Frankly, it is interesting, but the design that the Bubl team came up with has the most coverage and the most required software integration. One of the reasons I am bringing up the reality of 360 cameras is the fact that the new Oculus Go includes a 360 video and image viewer. It was written by the Facebook team, and overall it is pretty good. I’ve been wondering a bunch of images using the Oculus Go, and overall I am more impressed now than I was a few days ago when I did my initial review.

Treebeard, Keecker, also has a 360 remotely operated camera on top. Between the front-facing camera (that you need for remote operation) and the 360 cameras, the images from Keecker are also interesting.  It did make me consider the reality of burglary in the future. You have to not only know if the person has external but also internal security camera. If a robot seems to be looking at you while you are rummaging through the personal belongings, assume that you are now on camera. Unless you wore a ski mask and clothes that didn’t reveal anything about you, the police will find you fairly fast and so ends your crime spree (is it a spree when you get caught after the first break-in)?

Returning to my original point, Bubl remains the top 360 cameras I have tried. It produces good pictures and is easy to use. My only remaining complaint is the reality of wifi connectivity. Bubl can’t connect to your network; you connect to the Bubl wireless network. It is not as bad as using Bluetooth (slow).

There are some 360 cameras coming; I will add them to my review list over the next couple of weeks. I don’t plan on getting all of them. Many have inherent design flaws you can see just by looking. But a couple are intriguing and will add them to my list!

.doc

camera fan

of dad jokes and fake news….

I loved it when my father came home from NSTA (National Science Teacher Association) conventions. I missed him when he wasn’t home. But, and I never would have told him this, I also loved the new jokes he would tell upon returning. NSTA members were creators of dad jokes and other forms of humor. Some bad, but some fun. I enjoyed hearing the humor when dad returned. Back then, when I was little, the world was different. Communication was less rapid then and more expensive. When in the early 1970’s we moved to Thailand calling the US was technically very difficult and also very expensive. I think we called once or twice during the year we were there. The same was true from many of my father’s trips. He couldn’t call. Not like today, when a cell call from Europe to the US, is about three bucks for ten minutes (or less). The value of communication is the cost reduction overall in being able to call. I know, all the times I was outside the US for work, being able to call once or twice a day was a life saver for me emotionally.

The world has evolved, but I wonder if we haven’t taken a turn for the worse in recent days. My new rule for posts I read is if I see fake new used as anything other than a declaration, I stop reading that person’s posts. Fake News, is a creation. It is not real. Journalists work very hard to gather information. If they, like the rest of us, are fed falsehoods, they can only report falsehoods. There is truly no such thing as Fake News. If someone says that to you, understand that what they mean to say is “I don’t like what is being said.”

Fake News is an opinion, not a fact. Saying it doesn’t make you smarter. It doesn’t make the information you don’t like any worse. It just makes all of us a little less open. Personally again, if I see Fake News used as anything other than a post about how bad the concept is, I stop reading that person’s posts. There is no value in using a phrase that means nothing. CNN, ABC, NBC, BBC, CBC and SKY News and others have all been accused. But without a basis or facts to back up the accusation, what is the value of accusing?

Anyway, I miss my dad’s jokes.

Why did the chicken cross the road? To get away from Colonel Sanders (creator of Kentucky Fried Chicken)!

,doc

dad joke fan

Working together to improve Virily (and another poll)

One of the things I have often worried about is the anger that happens so quickly when it comes to issues with Web Sites. I used to write for a site called Niume. I enjoyed my time on the site. At the end of the time Niume was still functioning they announced the site would be closing. At that time it was recommended that everyone download their posts. The sad reality of all those posts, however, was that if you have more than 400 posts, the system wouldn’t be able to download your posts into a file.  I backup all of my posts so I didn’t lose anything, I couldn’t use their site recovery and backup option, but I had my backups of everything.

What I did lost was a year of links to posts. That was hard to take, and I decided if I was ever in a position of being on a similar site, that I was going to make sure I did everything possible to keep the site alive. That is why I spend so much time talking about ways we could improve the Virily site. I don’t want to have another Niume crashing down around me. That doesn’t mean the Virily site doesn’t have issues. It does, and it could be better. However, the thing that I think is important to share today is the reality of Virily. They, the editors and admins, actually pay writers. In paying writers, they create a 1099 type relationship with us as content creators. There is a pride factor and of course a financial incentive to make things better!

Earlier this week the social media connection for twitter was down. The admin team responded to my post on Facebook and reset the connection in less than 10 minutes. That makes me happy because it means the admins are responding to and trying to solve problems. Like solving problems in our personal lives the reality of solving complete application issues can be daunting. The fact that the admin team is responding means they are trying!  That said, I do know and understand that the issues people are discovering can be frustrating and painful. It is hard to balance the reality of what people need, what they perceive and how they perceive it. Anger is a normal response to things not working the way you would like them to work!

.doc

sometimes…

My review rules and why I do not often post about politics

I can honestly say, over the years that I have moved further and further away from sharing my political opinions very often. In part, because there are groups of people both liberal and conservative that the simple act of sharing an opinion causes them to feel less of you as a person. It is one of the rules I made for myself when I started blogging in earnest now more than ten years ago. My rules are simple, try, whenever possible not to mention names. When do I mention names? The first example of when I would mention a name is when there is good or bad customer service. The other time I would mention a name of production is  I am reviewing a product or idea. I do try for the most part not to mention names based on that first set of rules. It isn’t fair to have a one-way conversation with a person, such as a blog, and then also call them out by name.

Some of my other rules are what I would or wouldn’t review. I know that I get frequent suggestions for technologies to review. I do try to review products that people ask me to review. I have one critical rule when it comes to technology reviews. I have to use the service. As a long time, yelp reviewer organizations and businesses in my area are something I review. My rule is I have to use the service, have eaten at the restaurant and so on. It means I have reviewed 4 or 5 different Starbucks because honestly I often meet people at Starbucks. I have the same rule for technology reviews. Originally it was that I had to personally own the item, now I have added I do not know review technologies I don’t use.

Reviews have to be useful and credible. There are technology and restaurant reviewers I trust and respect. If I intend to do a review of a technology (or a restaurant) I don’t read the reviews. I do, check the overall ratings (on Yelp you give stars). But I don’t read reviews until after I posted my review. The reason for that is the fruit of the poisoned well as lawyers sometimes say (or is it the fruit of the poised true I can never remember). I want to make sure my reviews represent my use, feelings or experience of that organization. I do find after the fact that for the most part, I agree with the reviews I read after the fact. Things that are difficult and frustrating are often universal in the sense that they impact everyone!

All this said, more technology reviews are coming!
.doc

technology wanderer