Introducing a new way to consider work units….

`The browser wars’ of the 1990s helped drive the internet further and faster. I suspect the reality of that Netscape versus Microsoft’s Internet Explorer made a lot more people aware of the internet than previously. I remember working with the team as our company set up the first company website. 90% of my job was setting up the first internet connection our company had — an ISDN connection to a company in Columbus Ohio. We suddenly had internet mail (SMTP). We also realized that we didn’t have a WWW presence. We built our website and deployed it. Another person on the team took it over from me about halfway through the project (I had some other projects I was working on at the time).

Why am I wandering 20 plus years ago? Well, one of the things that I am looking at is how do you model a business. Enterprise Architects consider the concept of a work unit. A work unit is any set of tasks completed by a user to complete their job. SAP, Peoplesoft both offer extensive suites of software as do many others. Microsoft and Salesforce off online CRM (customer relationship management) solutions. The work units are simple to use cases applied to business needs. Accounting needs to be able to enter information into a system that will track AR and AP (accounts receivable and accounts payable). Based on that each of these represents a work unit.

The problems start when we forget two other components. There is the concept of destination. IE, where is the data going and where is it coming from. The network sits between the work unit and the destination. Why do we care about destinations? Well, the problem with a destination is the implementation of the connection between the destination and the user. That has radically changed over the past ten years. Ten years ago few companies had much more cloud solution than a web presence. Now, many have a significant portion of their organizational assets in the cloud. Some larger companies actually now exist wholly in the cloud. But users aren’t in the office anymore. They, users, are everywhere. So destination, device, and work unit now need to be evaluated at every level of the solution.


Tech Wiz

Tech Wiz on Cyber Monday (be careful out there).

Today for my 363rd picture in the photo challenge I shared the solar system. It is the AstroReality solar system. They have also created a series of notebooks; the picture is shared with this post. Embedded AR objects continue to grow in both scope and number.

Today in the US and now globally is called Cyber Monday. It is interesting because of the advertising reality of the day. You hear numbers like 90% off for a 55 inch TV. It is critical that as the consumer you verify that the features you need are included with the cheap TV. For the most part, the TV’s are specially made for Cyber Monday and do not include the majority of cool functionality. Like, having a USB slot or multiple HDMI slots. Both of those are critical if you intend to use your TV for more than watching Cable or Satellite TV. Plus, one HDMI input forces you to a switch or not having a DVD player attached to the TV. Or, the cheaper TV may not have the application environment, which means you may lose Hulu or other programs.

Black Friday, the day after Thanksgiving in the US was never something that I was interested in. I am also disinterested in Cyber Monday. It feels like more hype than reality to me.

I wonder if Wednesday of this week is Porch Pirate Wednesday? Since the majority of packages are now shipped two days, Cyber Monday results in Porch Pirate Wednesday.

Or Video Doorbell install Tuesday, so there is no Porch Pirate Wednesday.

I shouldn’t make fun of any of those events. It just strikes me as funny, if people perceive they are saving money they won’t always check twice. Please do so if you are shopping today. Make sure you are getting what you need. Don’t be filled by 80% off. It may mean less money out of pocket only to find out that the 80% off was both features and price.

Have a wonderful Cyber Monday!

Buyer Beware.

Tech Wiz

Tech Wiz on the importance of anchors in communication….

My twins and I often, while walking has discussions about the importance of language. In particular, we have argued that the dictionary is arbitrary versus an archive of language. They argue that there was language before there were dictionaries.  They focus on the creation of language as an aspect of everyday life and not a core component of communication. I know as they get older that argument will dissipate. The reason I know is that is an argument I had with my father many years ago. Dictionaries are both a component of language, but they are also the arbiter of communication. The words that are not currently in the dictionary or definitions not currently widely accepted cause communication problems. The word means one thing. If you modify a word outside of the accepted definitions then well you are risking communication failure.

The reason language and communication are so critical, and by extension, the dictionary comes from the long-ago history of humanity. Pictures, drawn on cave walls could convey a message. But one of the reasons for that communication had to do with the reality of the communication structure. Every tribe had a language: 1000’s of languages and no arbiter. No one was writing down what things meant. The Rosetta stone did more for deciphering the language of Ancient Egypt that anything previous to that. Why? Because it created a dictionary of Ancient Egyptian. Once you have a basis point, it is a lot easier to communicate in a structured manner. Personally, that is one of the big drivers for me, with the Travis Touch system. The ability to communicate easily.

Throughout my professional career, I’ve had bosses that communicated in one of two ways, yelling or deriding. They didn’t understand how to lead and manage people. I’ve worked with people that were scary. Very smart person but they literally, scared people. Few people would argue with them because they were scary. I’ve worked with people that build consensus and deliver projects. The thing they all had in common was language and communication. That drives out of the dictionary. Try the following experiment for a day. Pick ten words and look them up. Using the dictionary for the lookup, pick the 3rd or 4th definition of the word and work it into a conversation. See how quickly people are lost and confused!


tech wiz

Tech Wiz Earth on my desk…

I’ve mentioned AstroReality several times over the past 18 months here on Virily. Yesterday I got a long-anticipated addition to my AR family. Earth, an AR model, and an AR notebook. It also included a small moon model. I bought the lunar and solar systems models for a friend of mine, he taught 4th grade and was entering into an astronomy section of the science textbook. I was happy o share that with him, it allowed for a more interactive AR focused lesson. AR has a tremendous impact potential for education. It also has a tremendous impact on museums. I’ve been to many museums globally, sometimes the docent is awesome and makes for an unbelievable experience. Sometimes the docent is awful.

With AR, you can tag exhibits and share the best docent tours!  The AstroReality software is one example. The museum application is another example. As I said, docents are often less effective than they could be. There are many more applications of AR, however. One of the problems is the reality of bandwidth. I’ve beaten that subject far too much. The other side of AR adoption is the medium required. As more and more people get and use smartphones, the impact of AR will continue to grow. Someday there will be city tours (on a Segway!) that use the Loom device. The Loomo is the first Smart Segway and can have a preprogrammed interaction with the user. Stopping at various locations, and flashing the AR code on the screen.

Frankly, for me, the other part of the AstroReality stuff is that it just looks good. They include a notebook focused on Planet Earth that includes blank pages. I suspect I will fill those pages with Astronomical observations. But the cool part about the notebooks is that it is also an AR presentation. You simply scan the AR Code (QR) and the notebook comes to life with Mother Games! As this company continues to expand to create more and more astronomical AR systems, I am going to continue being a huge supporter. When I was a teacher many years ago, I had a globe in my classroom. Now, you can have any planet in the solar system in the palm of your hand!


Tech Wiz

Tech Wiz wandering video

The concepts of 4k and UHD are interesting. They speak to the quality of the image projected or shared via a television — most cell phones sold in 2018 offer a 4k camera. But the vast majority of content consumer isn’t always 4k. For example, I know that all of the YouTube videos I share. I share time-lapse weather videos most days of the week, none of them are 4k. They are fun, and the video doesn’t have to be 4k. In fact, for many years all of us lived in a world of standard definition video. Where the quality of the video was determined by the quality of the signal, not the original quality of the actual footage captured. Television stations had better quality requirement than we did at home!

The reason for all of this is I was watching a bit of the old Grinch Cartoon. The quality of the video is not good. By modern standards, it is truly quite poor. But I still love that video. Yes, it could be digitally remastered. It could be modernized and remade.  But I like it the way it was when I was a kid. It’s funny because for me watching stuff that is SD now, isn’t as cool. There are however certain things that shouldn’t be redone IMHO. As we head into the world of tomorrow, where the information age actually can see, off in the distance I wondered does quality impact anything? Video surveillance cameras need to be of enough quality that you can make out faces.

Traffic cameras have to be able to see and photograph license plates. The reality of what is coming, the information age, makes the reality of what we have interesting. Remember the 4k video ads. They will seem funny in 10 years when the 8k video ads replace them. You see that TV you have on the wall is already out of date. So is your cell phone, computer and most likely that new camera you got. All are out of date the minute you open the box. What remains is what you do with the old hardware. If you know how to operate what exists today, tomorrows tech won’t be a huge learning curve. If your struggling with the tech of today, you may continue to fall further and further behind.

We are only as good as the last time we tried!


Tech Wiz

Tech Wiz on communication….

“I’m so wonderful you wouldn’t believe.” Is one of the responses I often give to the question “how are you?” First off because you never know if it is the perfunctory how are you, or a real one. The other thing I used to say was “if I were any better I would have to be twins,” I stopped using that one after the twins were born.  The reality of communication in many cases is something I’ve changed my entire career. First off, if you truly want to know how I am, saying how are you aren’t going to get you the information you want. All of us know how are you personally in our lives. That person doesn’t want to know how you are, just that they want to ask the question.

Do you have something you say when asked how you are? Share it in the comments!

Communication is funny that way. We don’t always say what we mean, nor do we consider the reality of the other person when we ask questions. It’s like the great debate. When I was kid people used to say Merry Christmas. Hopefully, although not all did, they would at least wait until after Thanksgiving to utter the phrase but that is my personal bias, and I understand that. But we don’t say Merry Christmas anymore, and we probably never should have. It presumes a lot of information we don’t have when uttering the greeting. Happy Holidays with all the different holidays that are around this time of year is a much better, less impactful thing to say. It has honestly been tough to transition to saying Happy Holidays, but it is important.

It’s the reality of communication.

There are sayings we collect that denote both the meaning and message we are trying to convey. I am ending today with a few of my favorites. All are quotes, some are mine and if you want to know who said them ping me in the comments. “Do the right things, and the money will follow.” “It’s better to soar with the eagles than walk around with the chickens.” “Poets who read their poems out loud have many other nasty habits.” “Yesterday is gone, tomorrow isn’t promised, today is a present open it!”


Tech Wiz

Tech Wiz on cool tech

The picture is of an article I wrote nearly 30 years ago. It was about using computers with kids. I was doing STEM education back then. My class did science experiments (the impact of Acid Rain on corn, the launching of model rockets, the impact of trash on the environment). I was doing STEAM back in the day, as I always had the kids create art before and after that showed what they understood. StEAM, Science, Technology Engineering  art and finally math all come together with the process of starting with science programs. I suspect we spend far too little science education early in children’s educational process. The complex math of model rocketry is something kids will use the rest of their lives.

One of the interesting crowdfunding campaigns that I have backed multiple times is the Rocketbook campaigns. They have launched four campaigns overall, and I’ve backed them all four times. Their newest campaign is their first whiteboards. I am excited (they arrived yesterday). I am a huge whiteboard person (I currently have two ideapaint sections of my basement, a large rolling whiteboard and a smart board in my office). The Rocketbook whiteboards give me more machine-readable whiteboards. I have the beam system for a couple of my whiteboards. The smart board is already connected and converts whiteboard creations into digital files.

Finally, there are the iPad and touch screen computers. I have the Surface Studio in my office, a large touchscreen that I use all the time. I also have a touch screen from work, but I use the touchscreen lesson that currently. That may change. The nice thing about the Surface Studio is that I can interact with people in live meetings. It makes the whiteboard experience even better.

Now I just need to figure out where to put the new whiteboards on the wall. I don’t have a lot of free wall space, we have a lot of pictures!


Tech Wiz

Tech Wiz review NanoS 360 camera

The insta360 Nano S camera is a great add-on for your phone. They have an iPhone and an Android version. The iPhone version has a lightning connector. The camera has memory, can be used as a stand-alone, or as an attached camera on the iPhone. The picture shared today with this review, comes from the camera. When taking a picture, the camera stores it onboard or if connected, directly to the iPhone. Interesting note, like most 360 cameras it doesn’t go directly into the picture library. You have to move the image from the Nanos library to the photo library of your phone. Normally a 360 image is also large, the picture shared is 13 meg on my phone.

The biggest part of 360 cameras is the software. I like the Nano software. It is easy to use, and you can easily switch between the imaging modes. Your options are 180 picture, or 180 videos or 360 picture or video. The quality of the video is impressive. The system also allows you to capture images and video in AR mode. Overall the software is solid. You have to stitch and render the 360 images (two cameras on the device) and the software does very well with that. Two other things that are very nice in regards to the software is the auto-launch when you plug in the device to your phone. That is a nice feature that wasn’t always available in iPhones.

There is also a stand-alone batter in the unit, so it doesn’t suck your phone’s battery.

The other thing that I find useful (beyond the snug fit and therefore no issue with it coming off the phone) is the ability to operate the device right side up for the device, which is upside down for the phone. Finally, because the unit has a USB-C, Lightning or USB connector you don’t have to pair the device with your phone. That makes setup incredibly easy.

Overall I give the NanoS 360 camera a 9  out of 10!

Tech Wiz

Tech Wiz the things i no longer carry…

I have a couple of digital voice recorders that I have collected over the years. Two of them were given to me as rewards for completing a task or job. I don’t recall why, just that I was given the recorders. One I bought, but like anything you realize one day that you have them. Sadly no one else wants them anymore, so they sit in a bowl behind my desk. The memo recorder has faded just like a lot of technology items that used to be everything and are now, well worth nothing. That got me thinking about other things that used to be important that well aren’t as important now. One of the things I used to have to deal with was battery life. I carried two laptops and usually three cell phone batteries with me on long flights.

Now you can plug into the seat and not have to worry about power, but in the early 2000’s power wasn’t in the airplane seats (for the most part anyway). I haven’t carried more than one battery with me for a long time. I do have an extended life battery in my bag, but that isn’t just for my phone. It is for everything. I have a laptop that has an 8-hour battery. Now, flying to Asia back in the day that wouldn’t be a long enough battery life, but with plugs in the seat, you don’t need longer batteries. My cell phone can go 24 hours or more without charging, that, however, is dependent on how long I am on the phone in that period.  The longer you are using the phone, the faster the battery drains.

The other thing I don’t have now is the sleeves I use to have for my PPC. I don’t have an air card anymore either. Back in the day, we used to carry air cards for our PC’s. That would allow you to have a network connection. I also had a wifi router that allowed you to plug the air card directly into the router and share the internet for a bunch of devices. Having a hotspot on your android or apple cell phone made those devices (air card and air card enabled wifi router) no longer required. I also don’t carry a pen and paper anymore. I do have a digital pen that let’s me write on paper but convert the generated text into digital. But I used to carry a legal pad and a pen with me all the time.

The things I no longer need continues to grow.


tech wiz

Tech Wiz on updates and other tech stuff

I updated two computers yesterday. One of them is in the Windows Insider program (you get the next version of windows early in that program) the other is a portable non-laptop computer. It is a computer that is well pocket sized. It is running windows 10, and while it doesn’t have much memory, I use it with Open Office. I use the Open Office to open and test documents in the formats. I don’t always trust when people tell me you can go back and forth between Open Office and Microsoft Office without a lot of changes. The same is true of Google Docs; I use that all the time just to trust but verify.  The other reason why you test but verify is just in case you ever have live convert a document.

I find that Open Office has good Microsoft Office Filters. I have only had issues when converting documents to Google Docs. But some of my documents have embedded Visio diagrams and sometimes, not always, Google Docs seems to struggle with embedded diagrams. At some point, I will do a more formal review of the conversion issues.

Follow on from previous reviews; the Structure Sensor remains a great tool. The Occipital team (makers of the Structure) have updated their 3d room scanner (Canvas), and honestly, it works well. I continue to enjoy interacting with Jibo. The last update (there is another coming soon) added a more conventional quality to the interactions. When talking to a friend, we don’t normally start with an OK friend named before speaking. Robots continue to interest and intrigue!

I am waiting for a warm-weather winter day to take the ROV out again and video underwater. I am also waiting for a non-cloudy night to go out and take pictures with the telescope. The problem for me is the combination of cold and clouds right now.

I have a couple more reviews upcoming as well, although after two weekends of reviews, I am taking today off from reviews.


Tech Wiz