My computer journey…

My first computer was a TRS-80. It couldn’t do much. My first gaming system was a Pong. Also, I couldn’t do much. It was when I got my second computer that things changed for, the Apple IIc. Smaller than the Apple IIe and less expandable. It was the origin of Steve Jobs vision of a locked down the computer system. I loved my Apple IIc. I moved to Macs, then PC’s over the next few years. The computer was a tool I frequently used in my classroom. When I moved from Indiana to Ohio with my wife, I left teaching to become a computer trainer and later helpdesk professional. I cannot tell you how many calls I’ve been on with someone desperate to solve a problem.

Some of the folks I talked to are still people I talk to now. The reality of those phone conversations is that back then, that was a lifeline. You may not be able to help, but at the very least you cared enough to try!  When it comes to helping people, I think Yoda is wrong. Yoda’s quote from the Star Wars movies is “there is no try only do or don’t do.” I think when it comes to helping people there is a try. If someone tries to help you, give them credit.  Not all problems can be easily solved. I got back to those days on the helpdesk. People got mad at you all the time. They yelled, they complained, but in the end, they were struggling with an issue, and as the helpdesk person it’s your job to help them.

Own the problem, when someone says they are struggling and you are willing to try, let them know. The reality of problems is that they are like cockroaches. Left in the dark they multiply and become worse. I remember once, talking to a person with a serious printer problem. The printer was making a horrible noise (she help the phone up to the printer). Finally, I had her unplug the printer and let it cool. She then opened the printer (it was in a U-Haul shop in Georgia) and inside the printer (laser) next to the toner cartridge was a now dead mouse.  The printer often overheated and they had removed the side cooling vent so that more air would get in. So apparently mice could. You never know what the problem is, but helpdesk are all about listening!

is there something missing?

I have been considering (thanks to Ghostwriter) the impact of Virily on my life. I know that every day I log in to see beautiful pictures (often purple, Thanks Kim) from Carol, Pam, Lado, and Vidocka. I get beautiful creations to view from Alex and Jenna. I also get thought-provoking posts from Albert and many others. Before Virily I got similar information and interaction from Niume. I love the interaction that is created and grows with posts. But I am wondering now; my recent posts have been all over the map. I’ve talked about dream incubation, and I’ve talked about picking a digital camera or a film camera if you so prefer. Or, are you one of the growing numbers of people that choose cell phone camera first.

I wondered this morning if I was seeking something. I have a really good friend who always says “head, pocket, then start looking” He was referring to the process he undergoes to find his glasses. Well, at least that was the genesis of him saying that now whenever someone says they are seeking something he always says that. It makes good sense. Always check your head and your heart as you consider things. Always check around you (pockets). My grandfather always used to say “You always find things in the last place you look.” I remember the first time he said that to me, I looked at him quizzically. I didn’t get it the first time; I did the second time but not the first time.

What is the last thing you looked for?

Did you find it?

In the movie, the fugitive Tommy Lee Jones’ character says when looking for the “Fugitive” “do a hard target search.” What is a hard target search? I have wondered that ever since I first heard it. I guess to end this ramble, for that is what it is, I would say this. I am searching for something. I know I am, I don’t know what it is that I am searching for. I don’t know what the target is, be it hard or soft. I don’t know where the last place to look is, or I would just look there. Instead, I am wondering, wandering and seeking. What I am seeking I do not know. I just know something is missing.’


follow ups and questions…

first off a couple of follow-ups:

Time of day and publication = a question that was asked by Albert. Overall I have found the following based on my posts. Between 5 am and 6 am EDT which translates to evening in Asia and late morning in Europe is the best time for me.

Social  media sharing – I see far more results from Twitter than Facebook

(please feel free to share your input on this topic in the comments)!

I was asked by a long time reader to talk briefly about Anti-Virus packages. The problem with programs like that is updating. If you keep them up to date, they are awesome; if they are even one signature out of date, you are at risk. However, the two that I use and like are McAfee and Malwarebytes. McAfee does a great job on your PC for virus, bots and other risky things. Malwarebytes watches for bots, malware, and other things. The nice thing about both is they have a mobile (phone) and desktop version. Malwarebytes also now offers a cellphone and home pheon scam blocking package. Most phone companies in the US give you free anti-spam software for your phones. Malwarebytes works very well in the space, but always start with the free application and see if it is good enough.

Another longtime reader question was around the release of 5g services for phones in Minneapolis and Chicago in the US. The ask was what about the rest of the world? So Orange and Deutsche Telecom both have 5g pilots in Europe today. NTT has a pilot in Korea and Japan. I haven’t heard of a lot of other pilot 5g programs but will continue to watch and share when they come to be.

Last, although not a question, rather an interesting situation, is something I noticed. First off, I don’t like the color purple. That said, the number of purple flowers on Virily has impressed me in the last couple of days. I still don’t like purple, but I am enjoying all the purple on the site. That said I am not joining the challenge. I have to say the 365-day photo challenge burned me out of challenge mode for a while!


Second post in my choosing a camera series…

Continuing the digital camera discussion (I can’t do tables on Virily, maybe someday). Yesterday I talked about some of the initial criteria and considerations.

  1. First, you have to figure out, BEFORE, you look at cameras how much you can spend. This is important!
  2. Consider the following:
    1. The type of pictures I take
    2. The number of pictures I take
    3. What I take pictures of
  1. For me this next one is critical – I need a rugged camera
  2. I like to be able to focus manually
  3. I prefer everything to be automatically focused

First off, cellphones have amazing cameras now. A lot better than once upon a time! One of the things I have to acknowledge is that the first cameras on cellphones were 1.2 megapixels for the rear-facing the camera and .3 megapixel for the front camera. That reality shaped my opinion. I also entered the new era of decent cellphone cameras with a digital camera already.

A decision for me is always the fact that I am on my cellphone call the time. That makes using the cellphone as my go-to the camera a little harder. As we modify the selection process, we have to consider how much we are on the phone.

    1. How many hours a day do you use your phone as a phone.
      1. Less than ½ hour or less than 30 minutes a day
      2. Less than 90 minutes a day but more than 30
      3. More than 90 minutes a day
    2. Have you ever dropped your phone (shattering the screen)?
    3. I bought a new cell phone.

The first one is a driver for me, but may not be a driver for you. Do note, the likelihood of dropping your phone increases the more you focus on pictures on your phone.  People that use their phones for cameras most likely fit into the first category of time on the actual phone. Now that is not playing games or using the pheon as a GPS. The time above is time calling, talking and using the Cellphone as a phone. The reason for this is you have to stop the call, minimize the pheon application, open the camera application and shoot the picture. IF it is something that is time sensitive you missed it.

The last one is one that I suspect more and more people are considering. If you buy a new smartphone with a better camera, do you need another camera? You see cell phone prices are getting higher and higher. There are components of the cell phone that continue to increase the price overall. A better camera is something that increases the cost of the phone.

I will continue this for one more day helping you set up a matrix to decide.

I will I could publish tables!


follow up on Littlebits, and selecting a digital camera (or not)

Follow up on a previous review is the picture today, the Littlebits R2D2 robot. It was fun to put it together. If you are interested in the Littlebits education products, their website is here http://www.littlebitscom.

A friend of mine reached out the day before yesterday. He was trying to figure out which camera to get. We talked through the process I’ve used in the past, to pick a new camera. He said and I quote “why the heck haven’t you published that.” So without further adieu, my camera selection process.

  1. First, you have to figure out, BEFORE, you look at cameras how much you can spend. This is important!
  2. Consider the following:
    1. The type of pictures I take
    2. The number of pictures I take
    3. What I take pictures of
  3. For me this next one is critical – I need a rugged camera
  4. I like to be able to focus manually
  5. I prefer everything to be automatically focused

These five simple rules help you. First of all, with the recent cameras in cell phones, your cell phone can be your camera. It is, however, less convenient for people that are always on the phone. I can take a picture and talk on the phone at the same time with a camera. It can be done as well with my cellphone, but it becomes less convenient.

If you had asked me ten years ago, I would have pulled a camera out of my bag. Now, not always sometimes I don’t have a camera with me. Now there are many pictures I only capture with my cellphone. But that got me thinking, and I will add some poll questions to figure out if I am alone in this. I will also ask the question on MyLot.

  1. Are there situations where a camera functions better than a cell phone?
  2. Does holding your cellphone and capturing the image on the screen create more movement in the actual picture?
  3. I have a rugged camera because I can’t afford to drop my phone!
  4. While my iPhone has many cool video features, my Olympus and my Canon have much better quality video.

No set answers here just trying to figure things out!


on troubleshooting

I was digging through a couple of sealed tubs in my office (yes slowly trying to clean). The first one I opened had a bunch of connectors and cables. The person at Goodwill looked at the box and almost waved me away, but then he realized there were 80 USB cables of various types. He accepted all of the adapters, cables, and other stuff. One less container in my office is a well begun, but well less than half did reality. The second box had a set of notebooks that were my poetry from years ago. I shared one today and will share one a week all poems written between my 15th year on earth and my 25th year on earth. I stopped writing poetry for a few years until my wonderful wife encouraged me to write again.

I do have to admit; I probably would have gotten a lot cleaner if I hadn’t found that tub of poetry.

I’ve been troubleshooting a connection problem with the Bloomsky system. I would share what I’ve done so that others can follow along, with troubleshooting their home network.

  1. The first thing I did was check my Fing Box. Fing is a network security device, but it also lists all the devices on your network. The first thing I noticed was that the Bloomsky Storm unit was not visible.
  2. That meant it wasn’t on the network.
  3. I reset the device. (no change)
  4. Pulled the device inside and directly connected it
  5. (It worked)
  6. Went back put it outside
  7. (it disconnected)
  8. I realized my mistake (it was too far from the base station)
  9. Moved the unit

Troubleshooting can be painful and frustrating. It is, however, a really easy thing to do as long as you are consistent!

Many years ago I used to work on a helpdesk. There was a company that used our helpdesk as their tier 3 (tier 1 is the person that answers the call, tier 2 is either people that can go to the desk of the person having issues or people that can solve the problem. If tier 2 can’t solve the problem they escalate to Tier 3). Tier 0, by the way, is the newest helpdesk tool and is normally an only repository of solutions to basic problems.

Anyway, this particular company picked as their overall their 3. The same person called our helpdesk for their escalations. I wanted that person through troubleshooting steps. The next they called, they told me the results of the troubleshooting steps first.

Consistent is important when using technology!

My most important rule for troubleshooting, know your limit! If you know that after an hour of chasing a problem you are frustrated and annoyed, call the helpdesk at 46 minutes before you are annoyed!


The concept of dream incubation (Omni Magazine).

I promised Albert I would share the Omni Magazine article on dream incubation. is the link to the article. It is a good process that helps you accomplish two goals; the first is setting your dream; the second is remembering the dream. Virtually everyone dreams but few us remember those dreams. This system was designed to help you both incubate positive dreams but also to remember them. One of the most freeing dreams (for me) is flying. I love to have dreams where I fly around. Not, in an airplane, rather flying around just the birds and me. Setting the dream situation and preparing for that dream is not as easy as you would think.

, The concept of dream incubation was originally postulated by a professional in the 1970s. I first read about the process in the 1980s. I’ve been working on the process ever since. Originally my goal was flying dreams, as a way to “see my problems” from above. Everything looks smaller the higher in the air you go. Massive problems don’t seem as bad overall. The things that bother then viewed from above become something I can more easily manage. From above you can find many different paths forward.

This isn’t technology, except that you can also now measure the effectiveness of your dreaming. I know for example that cutting my sleep pattern short or changing my pattern frequently impacts me. It becomes important to establish a pattern. Please note, this is my application of what I learned and doesn’t apply to everyone. It just happens to work for me.

I start with a problem; there are many days when problems come to me. Walk into my office and say “here I am.” It is my job to figure out a way out of the problem. I write down the problem on a piece of paper and read it right as I am going to bed. Then I set the incubated flying, swimming or whatever it is that I need to do to figure the problem out. When I wake up, I meditate and consider what the dream brought me.

  • Sometimes it is the answer.
  • Sometime sit is just relief from something stressing me.
  • Sometimes, it is nothing, but the answer is revealed later.

I hope this helps!


On robotic Vacuum programming…

I have an good friend that is a long time college professor. She often talks about the reality of being an academic. First off, her field (mathematics) is often dominated by men. She struggles at times with the reality of being a woman in a “male field.” Her field, mathematics is filled with the search for, the process of and the application of proofs. Math is the language of physics. It is the language of precise. Math doesn’t always allow for variance. We were discussing robotics via email over the past three days. I had shared the Jibo program and robot with her (she is responsible for her elderly parents and was looking for an easy way to check in on them when she was teaching).

She bought two Jibo’s and had one in her classroom and one at her parent’s house. Her actual goal was to buy a 3rd one for home, but Jibo went out of business. Our conversation drifted to the complexity of the mathematics required to map an unknown home. Many roots offer the option (such as the iRobot vacuums and the Share Vacuums) to map your home. That map allows for more efficient use of the device. You see, even if you live in a Frank Lloyd Wright Prairie Home (they are all the same) you still have furniture that is different than other people. Your furniture and other personal effects are arrayed in a way that makes sense to you. That doesn’t allow for one map fits all.

So Robots map space, each one differently. The math is complex and involves both a motion algorithm and an object permanence. She sent me the equation used to map a small room with a robot. I won’t share it; I don’t want the formula. But it was interesting the number of variables you have to track to move a robot through space simply. Remember a robotic vacuum intends to clean the floor. Based on that the robot doesn’t go in a straight line. It, the robotic vacuum has to move about the entire floor. That means if you move objects in your space, you create variables that the robot has to note. It is a very interesting topic overall. Robots have to learn the physical space in a manner similar to what toddlers do!


sad news and a thank you to the community!

In less than three months this year, the future state robotics market has shifted. Jibo went out of business earlier in 2019 and as of March so has Keecker. While most people don’t care about companies going to of business I have to say both of these devices had great potential.  Keecker released new software before they shut down that frees their devices from the requirement to log into their servers.

It has come to my attention because it has been asked several times now on different forums, the differences in some of the ways to earn Virils. First off, the importance of guest views. I have included a screenshot from my computer this morning. I log in early in the US Eastern. I spend time catching up on posts from the authors I regularly read. If I have time, I read other authors as well.

This morning first thing I read three posts by other authors. I shared them via Twitter and as you can see I got credit for three Virils. Three shares three Virils. Now, once upon a time in the deep dark past, I would have gotten credit for sharing the post, plus all of the resulting views of that post that I shared. That meant if I shared the post and it was my post, I got double credit. One for sharing, one for the view and in the old days the site gave you credit for every single view, based on your social share. That was removed and probably should have never been an option; in many cases, you were simply rewarding people twice for sharing their post.

There is a limit overall to the number of guest views that you get credit for. If you share 100 posts in a day, you’ll be closed to the overall limit.

That said, views are completely separate. Views exist when someone either a guest, or a verified, or a registered user views your post. You get credit for everyone that views your posts. If there is a total limit to views, that would have to be well past 400 views on a post. I don’t think there is a limit on views, but you get credit for every view.

Just to be clear – share a post (your own or someone else) and you get one viril for sharing.

You get one viril for views, anyone that reads your post gives you a view.

Have a wonderful day!


My Review of the Eight Sleep system.

One of the interesting crowdfunding projects I backed was called Luna. Now, if you search for Luna, you won’t find it anymore. The company, after their successful crowdfunding campaign changed its name to Eight as in Eight hours of sleep. One of the members of our partnership between my wife and I is a blanket hog. I won’t mention names, but I will mention that I often wake up without a blanket and cold. Well, I used to have that problem.  The initial solution to the problem was to have two quilts on the bed at night. At least that way I got a blanket. But my wife often gets cold. We’ve tried electric blankets (they last about one winter season and then, well never work again). We’ve tried some different solutions overall.

None of them worked. Until Eight! Eight is a mattress cover that lets you do two things. The first is to warm your bed in the winter automatically. You can, quickly set the time the bed is warmed at night. Ours turns on around 7:45 pm. The image shared with this post is my sleep report from last night. I prefer the number was 8 hours, but 7 hours isn’t horrible. A score of 88 is nearly where you want to be! This is the iPhone version of the application. There is also an Android version. The beautify of this is you can have two sides of the bed, and two temperatures. My wife prefers a heated bed around the temperature of a solar corona. I prefer warm but not hot.

Setup is easy, and the software helps. You simply put the cover on the bed and plug it in. You then connect to the dongle via wifi. Each of you can connect to the system and set the temperature for your side of the bed. You also receive a separate sleep report. As I said the image shared is of my sleep report. Now my wife runs her side of the bed hot and for a full eight hours every night. I heat the bed during the winter and only for about 5 hours. That lets me fall asleep in a warm bed, and then when I wake up, it’s cold, and I have to get out of bed right away! The quilted top of the Eight-bed cover is comfortable. They also sell a mattress called the Pod. It does look interesting but, we like our bed.

Overall I give Eight Sleep a 9 out of 10!