In the back of the store, the Topo map counter….

The shortest distance between two points is a straight line. The reality of that line is a mountain may be between you and the point. There was a time, based on that we would unfurl or unfold the map of the area from the glovebox of our car. Or, we would go to the camping supply store and head to the back where the lonely person stood, selling TopoMaps. Few came to the camping store to buy Topo maps. It was a skill they had to have, but not one that did much business. Our camping store, when I was little, was an old building on the Town Square of Bloomington Indiana. It was the land of magical product names (Puma Knives, Northface jackets, and backpacks).

You could have conversations with knowledgeable people on the thermal qualities of down versus synthetic fabric sleeping bags. You could talk about propane tanks for cooking. Which knife was best to have on long hikes. Canteens and how much water you would need. Finally, you could, and my father and I did a couple of times, go back to the lonely person in the back of the store, past the Grizzly bear stuffed at the edge of the hunting section of the store. Past the glass counters with guns and compares past the rife sight section and the bows and arrows. Past the section where they had Boy Scout uniforms and Boy Scout gear. To the counter, with a huge cabinet with large flat drawers.

You told the person the Latitude and Longitude you needed. He or she, mostly back then he’s, but let’s are fair, would pause considering your request for a moment and then,  Those were the days of yore. Now you simply type in your Latitude and Longitude into Google Maps, and it shows you exactly what you are looking for. Can you imagine the reality of treasure hunting if the treasure had a GPS tag! The GPS III Satellites have been launched and are fully in operation now. GPS III gives you plus or minus less than 2 feet. In the past due to restrictions GPS’ were plus or minus around 12 feet. 12 feet doesn’t seem like much but it can be more than you realize. GPS III moves us forward into a much closer world.

I still miss Topo Maps and the Topo Map counter…


Cool tech wander

I have some additional questions for the Virily community. Based on the number I will post them as the poll.

There are two IoT creation companies that I think have found a fun and interesting market. MeeperBots, is a company focused on supporting children’s expression of moving vehicles. The other great IoT creation system is Littlebits. Now Littlebits  Both of the companies started as startups. Both focus on the side of the invention. Littlebits is also something that adults can use and enjoy.




The reality of the Internet of Everything isn’t tiny sensors and small devices. It is a lot more than that. It represents devices that don’t have a computer infrastructure connecting to the internet. But it is also Cellular phones, computers, tablets and devices like Keecker! Where the device and the user then become a more interesting question. The user, of a redlight camera, is not the person sliding through the intersection; it is the police officer that reviews the recording and sends the ticket. In that scenario the pictures don’t have to be epic quality; they just need to clearly show the license plate number of the car going through the intersection illegally.

That doesn’t, by the way, raise an interesting question about ethics, but I will pass on asking that one for now.

ROVs or remotely operated vehicles (which traditionally hasn’t been drones also, but should be) is another category in the reality of IoE devices. In the best sense of presenting market size, analysts project between 14 and 15 billion IoE devices are deployed as of today 2019. The projected number in less than five years is 50 billion devices. Just to be clear that represents seven devices for each human being on earth.

Enjoy the poll!!!

Question for everyone – pick two posts and see how many one comment “comments” you get for that post. A one comment “comment” is a comment made that you reply to, but the first person never responds to the reply.

By the way, check, because you’ll some interesting names on the site that do that. Please share how many you find per post in the comments (pick any two of your posts).


My top ten tech list for 2019

Ten technology things that if you need one, will help! The one piece that is missing, the network. There was a time many years ago when updating a device was painful. Now with the internet, all you need is access to the internet. The reality of your network connection is now critical to how you operate!

  1. Tablet, I use mine all the time. They are incredible tools to have in your hands!
  2. Pico projectors, there are several on the market, Nebula is the one I recommend the most.
  3. 3d or 360-degree cameras. This is a huge growing area!
  4. Travis the translator, with their new inexpensive Global Sim you can take translation with you anywhere, and you don’t have to have your phone in your hand.
  5. NetATMO and Bloomsky, there is something about knowing the weather where you live!
  6. Keecker, what can I say, the egg is useful!
  7. 3d printers – if you are interested the market is exploding and prices are dropping
  8. Alexa and Google Home. These are great voice activate systems to have and use!
  9. SiriusXM radio, I’ve been a subscriber to Sirius for more than 15 years. The service is awesome; the quality of the music is beyond amazing!
  10. Automotive anti-collision systems

The last one is the most interesting overall because anti-collision systems for cars have a huge economic impact, but is likely the slowest adoption rate on this list. New cars (2016 and on) tend to have the systems overall. It is an interesting technology. 3d printers have come down in price a lot in the past year. What once was 2 and even 3 thousand dollar purpose can now be had for less than 700 bucks. The quality of the printer has improved as well.

Each of these technologies has improved this year. The newest release of products in the categories are excellent. Not everyone will hit all ten categories, but I suspect some of you will hit 2 or more.


how to replace Google +

I realized today that while I had posted the results for the admins of Virily to see I had not shared with the community. Based on voting the number one asked for a replacement for Google + as a sharing or publication platform. The platform receiving the most votes was Tumblr. The second option was Flipboard, and the third option was between several others, but the 3rd option had far fewer votes and comments. I want to personally thank everyone that voted; I will one more time verify the results by asking you to vote again in the poll questions. We are t-minus roughly 40 days from Google + going away. I also found that there are some very interesting modes of using Social Media.

Several people mentioned that they use social media less than I would have expected, as in often not at all. A couple of influencers told me they don’t use social at all. That changes some of the influencer impacts that I measured before. There are three distinct types of influencers on Virily and as we move forward getting more data on two of them will be easy, the third type remains something that would require more information from the admin team.

  1. Comment drivers (they comment and others start to comment)
  2. Comment and both comment and readers (this one is part the first, and noting that when some people on the site comment, many other readers follow. Some never comment different than the first type).
  3. Social share (this one requires more information from the Virily team)

The interesting reality of the influencers in this grouping is quite simply the first one is break even. They comment, bring other people to comment, but if you look at the transaction, it ends up being pretty much 50/50. The second group brings more Virils for the Author, and it is more an 80/20 split. Finally, the last group is the one that we have no way to tell. In theory, the last group appears to bring between 20 and 30 Virils per view. But without access to the actual data, we have a way to confirm that hypothesis.

The concept of influence remains interesting. Please vote to confirm your choices for potential replacements for Google +. IF the poll changes the choice, I will inform the admin team of the new choice!


Why ethics matter…

A friend of mine has taken a ethics officer role at a place I used to work. We had a conversation another day about ethics, and in the process of that conversation, I posted a question on MyLot that resulted in my finalizing and codifying my definition of ethics. First, of ethics are a slippery slope. The minute we justify to ourselves that we don’t need to strictly follow our ethics the good reality is we just rewrote our ethics. Look the first thing is it is your ethics. No matter I believe or I think, or he thinks, or she thinks they are your ethics. How you apply your ethics, however, may determine how other people consider you as a person. Let’s for a moment take a contest. If the rules of the contest are set and you join, then you should do your best to live up to the stated rules. Cutting the edge of the rules is wrong. What happens when someone points that out to you? If you say, sorry your right, then you are well on an ethical path. Anything else and well everyone else has to question your goals.

The other side that my friend and I discussed was the reality of fake. A fake person is someone that posts in a specific forum in a specific way. The example my friend gave was related to two internal forums at my old company. My example was someone that posts on a blogging site with positive blogs and occasional snarky comments, but moving to a Facebook group only posts negative comments. We talked about the various levels in my old company and the impact of one of the people in the levels doing something like that. We talked about the impact of a Director or VP doing that. In my example, I talked about the reality of the tops posters on a site doing that. In both cases, the responsibility caused the impact not to be simply that they shouldn’t have, but rather it became to us, an example of what my friend calls “squishy ethics.”

We didn’t get into the honesty of posting and sharing. That is a conversation for the future. We simply pointed out the incongruity between positive in one place and negative in another. Mix into that the reality of authority, be it actual or simply position and you can see why slippery ethics are a bad thing. Someone that allows themselves to modify rules once something is placed is bad. Someone being duplicitous (positive one place negative another) is dangerous. What the perception of that person gets further altered by status. Senior company professionals, top-ranked people on a site have a serious responsibility to convey a consistent message. If someone works and something doesn’t work, they need to convey both.

Why do ethics matter?


Art on the wall whenever you want

The picture is one I promised to Alex Ledante. It is an image of my father’s painting “Faculty Meeting.” My father was given the painting many years ago when he was teaching at Niles West High School. It now, well not currently but will again soon, hangs in our guest room.

The reality of subscription models continues to expand. Most of us are used to the model; we have home phones, cable, or internet that we pay for on a subscription basis. Amazon has some cleaning and healthcare/personal hygiene products that are on their subscription and based the Walmart Model of economic impact (better to sell more at a lower price than a few at a higher price.) they, Amazon lower the cost of good in the subscription model. SaaS, or what is more commonly called Software as a Service is that model for software applications. You pay for what you use. This is different in that the other side of subscription models is the monthly subscription model some SaaS providers use. In that model, you pay a fee every month for access to their applications. Office 365 and the Adobe Creative Cloud are examples of this. An AWS Cloud or Azure Cloud account allows you to start and stop VM’s in the cloud; you only pay when the VM is active. The other side of the model.

Services are interesting, often providing more functionality than we need. For example, Office 365 has a per mailbox charge. But if you get a license for Microsoft Office online (confusingly also called Office 365) you actually can use five copies of the Office Suite. You need a license for your iPad, Android Tablet and any computer you use office on. But the overall cost of that is less than what it cost to update and upgrade office every year as it was released.  That subscription model gives you greater functionality at a lower cost.  The other advantage of getting the Office 365 subscription for the Office Suite, is you pay once a year and have access to the application on five devices. All are automatically updated to the newest version of the software!

I wonder when a museum is going to learn the value of subscription models and launch a new service? Can you imagine a time when you could have a painting, such as the one in the picture I shared today, in your house?  But, instead of an actual piece of artwork, you have an application on your cellular device or laptop and access to the Louvre’s library of art. Want to impress your friends at dinner? Hang the Mona Lisa in your dining room. Huge Dutch artist fan? Hang rotating works by Rembrandt and Van Gogh in your living room. The subscription would be a monthly fee. But you would get access to the art of the world. Much as you can interact with music streaming today.

$2.99 a month gets you the master’s paintings hanging in your bathroom!


On Earworms and other things…

I’ve been playing around with using MyLot to start some initial ideas or themes. Although lately, I have been steering away from that a little, focusing more on things I find interesting at the moment. For example the last couple of days I posted questions about earworms. Earworms are what my children call a song that is stuck in your head. The only way to get rid of an earworm is to give it to someone else. The fun thing about the Amazon Alexa speaker is you can ask Amazon to play any song. I know after we went to see Bohemian Rhapsody I’ve been having Alexa play a lot of Queen music! Before that and for many years my permanent earworms were Neil Young songs.

The other side of earworms is the external sound production we call speakers. There are some solutions in the speaker space today that are interesting. I like portable speakers from JBL, but there are many other speakers that are interesting. Not, that you have to have a speaker, but the reality of your cell phones speaker is that while it is better now than ever before, you can get better sound from a dedicated speaker. The quality of the sound you hear makes a difference. A dedicated speaker allows you to do other things easily while listening to music, or listening to the conference call. That said speakers on cell phones are a lot better than they were, back in the day.

I also use my Sonos wireless speaker as a broadcast system at home. Apple Carplay lets you broadcast calls and your content in the car. Overall I find that the quality of the speakers makes a huge difference.  The other side, however, is that speakers can be expensive. When I was in college, I remember a house my friends and I used to go to all the time. The person that lived there was an adjunct professor but spent all his time and money on Stereo equipment. He had tower speakers that cost more than a thousand dollars apiece. We all used to sit n his living room and listen to music. He also had more than 10,000 LP’s in his house and a reel to reel tape recorder. I wonder if he still has those massive speakers.


On growing your posts…

This my second post in my newest series “How do I gain viewers on Virily.”  I am going to focus today on some questions that have been asked of me related to improving your views on Virily.

  1. How do I become verified user?
    1. First Verified users are those who do not require moderation when they post. The original “requirements” to become a verified user had to do with both contribution (things you share on Virily) and commenting. If your comments were reported or you don’t follow the rules of the site they didn’t make you a verified user
    2. I do not know if this is, in fact, the case
  2. How long to moderate my posts?
    1. One of the things I remember from first started was that sometimes if I posted on  Friday, it might 5 or more days before my posts were published.
    2. Since I started out writing two times a day on Virily, I could be 10, 12 and sometimes more posts ahead of the moderators.
    3. They always published my stuff; it just took time!
  3. Should I join challenges?
    1. In deference to Albert, yes you should.some of the writers on Virily do not join the challenges, many do.
    2. But if you join Albert’s challenges, HE ALWAYs reads your additions to the challenge!

Please remember let me know via private messages if you need to vent or express frustration about the speed of moderation or other issues you may have! I am happy to listen! I may not be able to help, but I will listen and if I can help I will help!

If you wish to become a verified user of Virily, remember that with power comes responsibility. You, as a writer are a reason Virily is still in business. Based on that remember the reality of the other side when you post. The writing site Reddit always reminds us to remember the human. While the Virily editors could certainly do a better job of communicating with us, we can do a much better job of communicating with the admins as well.


How do I improve the views?

For a little over than 365 days last year (2018) I posted between 3 and five posts a day. The reality I discovered throughout the year is the dilution factor. More posts don’t drive more revenue. What drives more Virils for your posts is getting the influencer. I spent a lot of time chasing who the influencers were on the site, and I started that information with the ROW (rest of the world.) I have been tracking several writers over the last couple of days related to the number of posts they make (daily) and the impact of those posts. I’ve got some initial information, but I would like to remind people that at best these are not scientific numbers. The information I gather is related to specific authors, and while it is reliable (beginning and end are known), it is open to interpretation.

  1. Multiple posts don’t always mean more viewers.
  2. The first influencer that comments will increase readers if a second from the list of influencers comments it moved faster. This one is hard to prove other than, watching throughout five days. Interesting by the way, some of the influencers have no impact in some areas. They, the influencers, have a huge impact in the areas on Virily where they post.
  3. The influencer list has changed in the past 45 days. Two names have dropped off, and two new names are now part of the new list. I will try to publish the new list later on this spring. A 45-day trend isn’t long enough.

I have also had the chance to look at specific influencers related to their impact and found some of my original numbers aren’t holding up.

I suspect one of the things we as a community should consider is awards. Things that we vote for and nominate other writers for. While there wouldn’t be any official Virily support for this, I think there might be value in considering something like that. Will leave some questions with this post to help start people thinking. I have to say that this came from a question asked on the Virily users group. The question was more generally should I write on Virily. I’ve extended that thought a bit to move forward with the concept of what will help me writing on Virily. This is the first post of things I’ve noticed. Again please note that this is not a scientific poll and I was only able to watch between 5 and eight writers daily.


My review of the Bamboo folio…

I love the feel of pen on paper. It is something that I’ve continued to enjoy for many years now. A while ago I got a good deal on the Bamboo Folio. It is a product from Wacom that allows you to connect pen, paper, and your mobile phone or tablet. There are some “smart” pens and pads on the Market. They only apply to you, if you like pen on paper. If you are comfortable with the interaction of screen and pen, you probably won’t care about this. To begin with the history of stylus and pens, the original smartphones had a stylus with them. Steve Jobs felt that wasn’t the answer, and of course, Apple had bombed with the Newton (a stylus-based PDA).

However, my original career in the computer world, was before there were smartphones and the option of drawing on the screen. I remember the first Wacom tablets. They were USB connected to your PC and allowed you to draw. I am not good at drawing, but I do like to create visual diagrams to later move to Visio and other applications. I began in the world of paper notes.

  1. I’ve used or been given some electronic or smart pens over the years.
    1. Livescribe
    2. Wacom’s first pen
    3. eBeam
    4. OneNote
  2. The type of pen is critical
    1. I like smaller pens (Livescribe is a big pen)
    2. I don’t want to be tethered to my PC or tablet
    3. I still love the feel of paper.

Overall the two components for me are to be still able to use paper, but to convert that on the fly to digital. In the conversion process, I want o to be able to convert my notes to editable text. I also wish to be able to convey ideas (Architectural drawings) easily to my computer. The Bamboo folio operates in two modes one is offline uploading notes to your PC/Tablet. The other is live mode. Both are easy to set up and use.

The picture shows the inkspace application installed on my iPhone. The inkspace application is how you connect to the folio.

The calibration application allows you to finetune how your folio captures information.

Overall my rating of the Bamboo Folio is an 8 out of 10.