Tech Wiz too many USB cables

One of the things that drive me nuts is USB connections. There are multiple types of connections (1, mini, micro, c and lightning and so on). I have multiple USB cables because you never know which one you will need. There are charging cables, and USB chargers, as hubs. All of this leading to 100’s of connections. Each of the cables includes speed limits and the in theory universal plug and playability. USB cables come in a variety of lengths as well, from 4 inches to 25 or more feet. Plug and play were originally introduced with Windows 95. It wasn’t effective, but it was available. Now, with Mac, Windows 10 and many Linux OS distros you can plug anything in, and for the most part, it will find the right driver.

What worries me is that even though are are far from the days of SCSI, serial, parallel, AppleTalk and so on, we still have too many connectors.  Micro- and Mini- USB can be very difficult to seat properly. Lightning and USB-C were designed to be reversible (making them easier to “plug in”). USB 3 was designed to improve the amount of data that could be moved via USB. All of this frankly, to better support the dream that was plug and play now nearly 25 years old. The other issue I have is the number of cables. Because there is USB 1, USB 2, Micro-USB, Mini-USB, USB-C and so on, I have way too many cables. In part because there are devices that use the cables, in part because even if I don’t have devices, I am loathed to throw the cables away.

One of the things I know many people have pushed for, and so far have failed, is one connector to rule them all and on a hub bind them.

The amazing reality is the number of cables. The sad reality is the number of cables. Plus the worst thing for me, I never have the specific cable I need at the time. I ended up creating a cable storage system so that I could grab one quickly. I’ve also ended up getting tri-USB cables. Tri-cables have USB-Mini, Lightning and another connector on them. Sometimes that is all you need!

.doc

Tech Wiz

Tech Wiz on Home Security…

One of the things we have at our house is a Ring Doorbell. It is really a great product. I highly recommend a video doorbell. First of all, because they are cloud storage based, even if someone pulls it off the door frame, it still sends their picture to the cloud. Easily downloaded and shared. We have video cameras in the house from the Canary project, which is now a full-fledged security company. I like their model as well. All doors are seen from the side of the house. The front door has both inside and outside views of it. Sometimes security isn’t just what you are protecting it is how you are protecting it. Video cameras are a great way to monitor what is happening at doors in your house. Plus the Canary devices also monitor air quality and temperature. It lets you know when there is stale air in your house.

Ring is a nice addition, in part because Amazon Alexa integrates with Ring. That means you can ask the Alexa Show to show you well who is at the front door. You can, while cooking in our case, having dirty hangs tell the UPS person to wait a second so that you can wash your hands and answer the door. The simple presence of cameras will reduce the risk of porch pirates as well. Sadly, however, I have seen some shared videos of people stealing a package while looking right into the camera. The other cool thing about the Ring system is that all your neighbors that have their doorbells and security cameras and share information. There was a burglary in our neighborhood recently, but sadly we were at the time the only house with external cameras.

Now there are a couple of houses that have external cameras for home security. Peace of mind comes from knowing what is going on all the time. Anyway, regarding installation, the Ring System is very easy. I recommend using the Chime and Ring combination, that way you can’t have to worry about your home wifi signal not being strong enough outside your house. First, you don’t want that anyway. If your home wifi makes it to the street, you are vulnerable. It is far less suspicious to sit in a car and appear to be waiting for someone while hacking into a house, than it is to be walking around. Chime allows you to directly connect to a Ring Doorbell via your home wifi. IT also allows you to try out some cool door ringing sounds!

Tech Wiz

Home Security…

A conversation about AR…

I had a great conversation with another technologist the other day. We were both waiting for another meeting to begin and started talking about AR> Well, actually she started talking about AR. She started out asking me a question, her son is struggling in school, and she is worried. She wondered what I used to do as a teacher to motivate kids. I talked about “finding their passion” and tweaking that. She said her son was interested in Astronomy. That was when I showed her the AstroReality application. I had just printed the Lunar AT poster in the morning and showed her what was possible. She was intrigued, and we started talking about AR (and then VR) as far as education.

She brought up a topic that I have to say was not one I had thought about often. That was to use AR stages with younger children. Interactive systems are something that Children enjoy. We talked about places that AR stickers would be really useful. The first one was subway and train stations. You can simply have an AR sticker to cover the how and what of the subway. We then started down several other paths. The first was the risk of AR. In particular, based on the nature of the system today, you need to have an anchor point. That anchor point can be faked. When faked, the risk is of course that the information you see isn’t the information you were seeking, or it is close but modified.

The second risk for AR is interesting. Not the interest that we would normally consider rather it more the interest maintenance of people paying attention. Forgetting an AR sticker is easy. Pokémon Go blew up, but then it went away very quickly. Yes, there remains a user base, but overall the user population is way lower now than it was. Is that a trend that AR  creators should be concerned about overall?  Will people rush to participate and then disappear? Interesting thinking, then the meeting started, and we put the conversation away. We will revisit it. I am sure, and there are many more components to consider. We didn’t even get to talk about the Lunar model, and earth model that AstroReality has released!

.doc

AR Fan

Tech Wiz a new blog concept

I have spent a lot of time over the years looking for various technology solutions to problems. From 3d scanning (a recent search) tor replacing a circular slide rule (a long time technology driver) I have chased some solutions. Having the ability to project onto a larger screen like in a conference room at home has had me chase both projectors and screen sharing. I have looked at the Google device, and honestly, with the new Apple AirPlay support with more and more devices, I don’t use anything else. I realized, I have two three larger monitors for my computers and don’t need monitor space for computers. What I need is to be able to share content on my iPhone or tablet. With the easy screen sharing, that is no longer a dongle required activity.

One of the things I have been going in the last couple of weeks is I’ve been using the Mylot site to start the conversation. I had for many years used my blog as the starting point for many technology conversations. Now with the MyLot site, I can start questions there as much smaller ideas and move them to my blog when are more mature. It means I won’t be writing 3, 4 and even five variations of the same post throughout a two-three week period. Unless of course, you like my ruminations, in which case, you’ll need to move over to MyLot and follow me there. It is a new way, and I can’t guarantee it will last, but for now, I am trying it out. Kernels are posted on MyLot, as they grow they are shared on my blog here and other places.

The technology rules will be the same, I also probably won’t post reviews on MyLot. I do need to get back to reviews. I will on occasion post poems on MyLot, but mostly those are posted here. I am working on two specific searches in the technology space. The first is a way to post the DSLR images I have currently. They are between 15 and 25 meg per image. I don’t want to “dumb” them down, so I am looking for a photo site that will let me share them easily, in the large format. You lose resolution and other things when you start resizing pictures. Plus, if you ever want to print the pictures, you have to have the larger picture size, to get the clarity in print. The other thing I am looking for is a computer bag that has features that aren’t readily available right now. There are a couple of crowdfunded bags that are really close; I am still looking for an available shipping bag that does now.

Thanks for reading – enjoy the poll!!!

Tech Wiz

Link to Poll

Tech Wiz the art of laser measurement

The world of laser measurement continues to expand. There are some products coming that will integrate even more with your cellular phone. But the now brings us some products that you can buy now. dTape (the product in the picture) is a quick and effective laser measuring stick. dTape lets you measure from one point to another. It won’t let you measure into space; you have to have a wall or an object at the end of what you are measuring. What you get is a digital presentation of the distance.  There are some other products Spike From Ike is also a laser measurement tool. Spoke integrates with your cell phone, and allow you to take larger measurements (how tall is a building).

The accuracy of a laser doesn’t replace a physical tape measure when you don’t have that endpoint, however. The other things you can do that is interesting is some of the new software packages that let you take a picture of a space an then within the picture create measurements. I think the future of furniture sales lies in the ability of furniture stores to sell their products not based only on how they look in the showroom but giving the customer a digital version of the product. The end user can then, using the software, put the furniture into their home, apartment or wherever else they would need furniture. No hours of measuring and planning. Just take the digital image and place it in your home. You can even see if you can move through your front door without changes!

There are some other scientific endeavors that will use laser measurement. Another area where laser measuring is useful is gathering temperature of surfaces from a distance. Laser temperature gauges allow you to point the laser two- three or more feet away from the heat source to see how hot it is. Less having to get too close to something hot. When you think about cars and boats, it also allows you to see where on the engine block is it too hot.

We continue to head towards the digital tomorrow that will launch the information age. We still aren’t there, but we are firmly on the path!

.DOC

TECH WIZ

Motorized mayhem on the sidewalk…

I spend a day or so (sometimes more) a week in downtown DC. I love the rideshare bikes everywhere. The thing, however, today’s picture inspires me to recall is the reality of shooters, Segway’s’ and sidewalks. When I was a little kid learning to ride my bicycle, it was understood that you could ride on the sidewalk. But the bike rider on the sidewalk was responsible for making sure they didn’t hit anyone. They didn’t have the right of way.  Now with the scooters, motorized and human-powered, bikes and everything else that is using the sidewalk who has the right of way? The answer is still who the sidewalk was made for, the pedestrian. Don’t from your bike seat shout right of way to a walker, you don’t have the right of way.

What happened to civility?

By the way, a pedestrian with their face buried in their cell phone counts as a biker from now on. As the pedestrian walking on the sidewalk, or in the crosswalk of a street it is my job to avoiding obstacles. But, in that crosswalk, if traffic is stopped, I have the right of way. It scares me sometimes to walk on the streets with people buried in their cell phones. People are kiting along 10-12 miles per hour faster than the walker and of course, bikers on the sidewalk. I am not saying they shouldn’t be there, just that they need to pay more attention than the walkers. The next generation of personal safety devices won’t be a hidden taser that no one can see. It will be personal lidar.

Lidar is what they use in cars to determine when another car is too close to you. With personal Lidar, you will know when bikers, scooters and other walkers buried in cell phones are too close to you. You will also be notified when someone is walking faster behind you. It is a sidewalk designed for those who are walking; everyone else is a guest. Please act accordingly.

I feel old now like I am standing on the sidewalk tripping people with my cane. I hope it doesn’t come to that .

.doc

sidewalk ducker

The reality of who owns the sidewalk…

I spend a day or so (sometimes more) a week in downtown DC. I love the rideshare bikes everywhere. The thing, however, today’s picture inspires me to recall is the reality of shooters, Segway’s’ and sidewalks. When I was a little kid learning to ride my bicycle, it was understood that you could ride on the sidewalk. But the bike rider on the sidewalk was responsible for making sure they didn’t hit anyone. They didn’t have the right of way.  Now with the scooters, motorized and human-powered, bikes and everything else that is using the sidewalk who has the right of way? The answer is still who the sidewalk was made for, the pedestrian. Don’t from your bike seat shout right of way to a walker, you don’t have the right of way.

What happened to civility?

By the way, a pedestrian with their face buried in their cell phone counts as a biker from now on. As the pedestrian walking on the sidewalk, or in the crosswalk of a street it is my job to avoiding obstacles. But, in that crosswalk, if traffic is stopped, I have the right of way. It scares me sometimes to walk on the streets with people buried in their cell phones. People are kiting along 10-12 miles per hour faster than the walker and of course, bikers on the sidewalk. I am not saying they shouldn’t be there, just that they need to pay more attention than the walkers. The next generation of personal safety devices won’t be a hidden taser that no one can see. It will be personal lidar.

Lidar is what they use in cars to determine when another car is too close to you. With personal Lidar, you will know when bikers, scooters and other walkers buried in cell phones are too close to you. You will also be notified when someone is walking faster behind you. It is a sidewalk designed for those who are walking; everyone else is a guest. Please act accordingly.

.doc

Side Walker.