more on the topic of Robots…

In the cover picture, yes, I need to clean my office! The concept of 360-degree photography continues to expand. The impact of the capability is still a bit away. Yesterday I talked about robots. Everyone was comfortable with a robot that would clean their house. I expected that I would like like a robot that cleaned my house. I would, hence the picture, love one that would organize my office. I need organizational and cleaning help! The concept of robotic replacement is interesting. First of all, let’s talk about dangerous jobs. Those are the jobs that put a human at risk. I think at this juncture the majority of people would agree that dangerous jobs could, should probably be replaced by robots.

Remember, human skills in those dangerous situations are still required to operate the robot. It is a one to one trade, but we no longer risk the human being! If you watch the news, you will see that they have embraced drones to show footage after events. They also use the drones to show footage where it isn’t safe for a human cameraperson to go. The camera person still operates the drone. In this scenario, as well as the cleaning my house scenario, I suspect most people would agree, robots are good. The reality of a cleaning robot today is there are robots that can vacuum, and robots that can mop your floor automatically. Now you still have to empty the device, but it operates on a schedule.

The area where people get nervous is the nation-dangerous jobs and robotic replacement. I posted an interesting question on a couple of the social networks, asking would you visit a robotic therapist. The reality is, with AI, we could have a robotic therapist as an intake person for a specialized therapist. They, the therapeutic robot, wouldn’t replace the therapist; they would just be the starting point.

Why would a robotic entry therapist be useful? With AI, and access to real-time data (say the DSM 5 online and searchable) the entry or baseline questions can help drive a direction for the human therapist. Therapy is more than talking. It is about interaction. It is about body language; it is about the answers to questions. All of those are things that a robotic therapist can capture, and with AI provides a high-level direction.

But, I suspect that would terrify most people.

Why use robots in manufacturing? They do the same thing 100 times a day and don’t get tired. That means the first bolt, is as tight as the last bolt.

Someone has to program that robotic manufacturing arm. Someone has to operate it. Someone has to program it!


The Robots, are coming.

I read a great piece yesterday online, a rejiggering of the movie “The Russians Are Coming,” a hilarious comedy from the height of the cold war. The piece was focused on mobile projects (The projectors are coming) was the title. I was thinking about the concept the author was sharing and considering, that the market is evolving from where it was to where it may yet be. It has rattled around inside my head (not a good place for ideas to rattle around inside) for the last couple of days. First off, it reminded me of that movie. Like my all-time favorite comedy, Dr. Strangelove, or How I learned to love the bomb, The Russians are coming was a classic comedy. Very funny and entertaining!

While I do think that mobile or portable projects are interesting, I don’t think that I would spend the column space, more than I already have. Instead, I took the concept and modified it. The Robots are coming. The first intake of breath is just the same as from the movie. Robots cause fear among a certain set of human beings. They, the humans, are afraid their jobs are going to be taken and given to Robots. It is a legitimate fear in some cases. Of course, you do have to ask, would that person be able to find a new job? In many cases, the person in question with a little training could get a better job. It is about time, effort, and the dedication to creating a new workforce.

But, that is in the future, a few years by current estates (15-20). The reality is that right now; Robots are available to complete several automated tasks.

1. Robots that Vacuum your house! (iRobot is my personal choice, but there are many in the category).

2. Robots that patch roads (Potholes)

3. Robots that explore the depths of the Ocean

4. Robots that are used to defuse bombs

5. Robots that are used to enter areas that are dangerous to humans.

That is a fun list of interesting things. Robots are doing today. Being a Smart Aleck, I thought I would share some new places Robots might be interesting in the Poll!!!


Are media players returning?

One of the things I always find interesting is the expanding reality of media devices. There was a time, with the iPod and the Zune (as well as many other devices) that the concept of media devices was independent of your cellular device. I suspect the rising reality of time has changed media devices forever. The Zune, iPod, and other media devices were rapidly replaced by devices that had connections. Your cell phone always being connected killed the iPod. The Zune died because the market said, no. One of the things I often think about, though is the reality of the Swiss Army knife approach. I am, have been for more than 40 years a fan of Swiss army knives.

I often grab my knife as the first option to do several things. I usually have my cell phone with me, so the camera, recorder, and other functions are often used. What I do often find, however, is the need. Yesterday I talked about the concept of waiting. What would you wait for? It is interesting to me because the camera concept is right now. Images such as the many here on Virily are about capturing the exact moment. You can’t tell a butterfly to stop, and please wait while I run in and get my camera. The Butterfly, bird, or any other living thing is not going to wait for the camera to appear. They are going to do what they do and move on while you try to get your camera.

The cellphone, at that point, is of value. You see there are times when the Swiss army knife is the best tool. But the Swiss army knife is not always the best tool. The right tool for the job! That said, I do wonder as we move further into the Cellular phone world, that things are going to change. Today, I use my phone for conversations, boredom, and for checking on various things. The phone doesn’t have an issue with battery life. I have run to 10% a couple of times. I do have an extended life battery, But one of the things I noted recently is if you do Netflix or Hulu on your phone while waiting, the battery drains even faster. That draining will change the future of media players, maybe they come back, again!


Would you wait in line for a new pencil?

One of the things I spend a lot of time on is tech; it is a passion of mine. It comes from my career and seeking to see things differently but at the same time, making things work better. In that reality, I spend a lot of time considering applications in particular applications on networks. More and more people use their cell phones more and more every day. That growth in connection is an interesting problem. In part, it brings us to a new perception. In part, it leaves us evolving where we are. The image I love to share sometimes is the evolution image of humans. Starting with stooped shoulders and then beginning to walk perfectly only to well, end up with stooped shoulders peering at a cell phone.

I am not decrying the cell phone and declaring it some kind of destructive device. Rather, those things have changed. Information at your fingertips changes conversations. The argument doesn’t have to rage all evening. Someone just has to look up a valid source (please not Wikipedia, while interesting it isn’t always accurate and doesn’t have a banking organization that is driven to correct errors).  I do remember what it was like to wait for 2, 3, or 4 hours for something back in the day. Without the entertainment device, the connected cell phone, you sat. If you were smart and knew a wait was inevitable, you brought a book. Now, I can sit, relax, and read my kindle, listen to my music, and kill four hours.

That got me thinking – how long would you wait for something? I will ask a bunch of scenarios of would you wait for something in the poll questions. I m always curious how long people will wait I know back in the day, waiting could be risky. When we had two infant twins that could bursts into tears at the drop of a hat (they didn’t throw fits, but they did get upset and cry, which is bad as a parent)! What would you be willing to wait for? I know for example that there are new tech things announced all the time, I suspect here on Virily I am in the minority of people waiting for those. But movies, books, and so many other things come tomorrow, what would you wait for?


Rocketbook :-)

I surf crowdfunding sites often. For me, I love seeing the creativity that project creators have and share. One of the companies that I am a huge fan of is the Rocketbook products. Rocketbook was originally a reusable notebook company. They added software that lets you convert your handwriting into text. The company has launched four campaigns that I have backed. I suspect there are others that I have missed; The picture is of their last product, the Rocketboard. A whiteboard you can quickly convert into text using their software on your phone. Simply point the application (and your camera) at the whiteboard, snap and convert. It works very well.

There are several products in the space that Rocketbook is in. What I like is the company is an agile crowdfunding success story. There is the concept of building a better mousetrap. That is a real market to start in, but the reality of the mousetrap is its function.  Building better functionality is important, but sometimes you have to consider what the mousetrap has to deliver. For those who don’t like injuring animals, the mice have to be safely trapped so that they can be emptied somewhere not inside your house. Rocketbook has done that, by moving from paper notebooks that you write on to whiteboards you can write on, in both cases taking the physical notes and making them digital.

Their newest product is an adapter that allows you to convert any whiteboard into a digital workspace. I can’t wait to see how they deal with that issue. I have, over the years, played with several whiteboard digital conversion tools. Ebeam has long been my go-to device. I have also looked at the smart boards from Kapp. In those cases, the products work very well but like anything you have to consider setup. With the Rocketbook products, having a frame using the software that lets you capture whiteboards and convert them to text, on your phone, is very interesting.  I am impressed with the company, and I am impressed by the products they produce. There are many companies that do not make it out of the crowdfunding swamp. Rocketbook is a success, and the products are wonderful!


Does time of day when posting matter?

I have a really good friend who from time to time, does something really interesting. This year he and his wife have decided to follow my wife and me, and get a tandem bicycle. While not purely technology, tandem bikes are fun. In part because the interesting reality of tandem bikes is working together. The Stoker (the person on the back of the bike) and the captain (the person on the front) have to work together. One of the most interesting things about riding a tandem is directions. In the modern age of technology, The Stoker is normally the person reading the map or watching the GPS screen. That is so the Captain can focus on making sure there aren’t any bumps.

We hit a bump, and it spilled both of us off the bike. Painful!

Virily is a tandem bike to a degree. We have authors and readers. As I research the impact of comments on posts and blogs, I am struck by several things. Comments are the actual connection between the author and the reader. The views, upvotes and so on are information, but the comment gives us the acknowledgment that someone read and enjoyed the publication. That connection is what the author is seeking. The reader as well is connected and comments! But, sometimes lots of comments only equate to a one for one (comments on Virily = 1 view).

I am still looking at the wider research into the impact of comments.

The other thing I am looking at overall is the concept of social media impact and time of day.

I have noticed lately that there seems to be an optimal time for posting on Virily. I don’t know what that time is right now, but I am talking to a developer friend of mine that builds web sites for companies. He has a couple of ideas of how to track the impact of both times of the day and overall views created by Social Media. I will share that once I get a better grasp. Thanks! Have a great day all!!!


Building a user matrix for the movers project…

I have been doing a lot of research into the impact of comments on Blog Posts. There is a lot of information that is available. The impact here on Virily is something I will use as part of the Movers project later this summer. I want to figure out if comments drive views faster. I am working through several ways we can measure that. One of the problems we have right now is there are many new writers, many returning old writers and it makes the water a little muddy. As we roll further into the summer, I suspect we will end up with more overall information. It is nice, per CarolDM that the poll issue is fixed. Polls are a part of the way I like to present my technical column.

Having only the option for Yes, decreased the interaction a bit.

The other template I use a lot is the Gallery. Galleries have improved in overall speed considerably with the last big Virily Update. Where it would take 2 minutes or longer to load the 10-11 pictures I normally share, now it is less than 30 seconds. Some of that is I have switched browsers (on purpose). Part of that is the new site. When I go back and upload pictures in Chrome, it is still faster now than it was.

The amount of code, complexity, and variables a site like Virily has to deal with are incredible. So a tip of the cap to team Virily for the site improvements!

I will write a column in detail on the overall mover’s project later on. I will, as mentioned, break the study into two distinct sections. I will also run the two sections at different times. I want to see if comments drive views. I also am really curious as to three questions that have been asked previously.

1. Does time of day matter for views?

2. Does Twitter drive more views?

3. Does Facebook drive more views?

Thanks all!


When your power fails…

Over the last two weeks, we have had two significant (more than 2 hours) power outages. One of the issues that many companies, including the power company, face in the summer is overload. In the summer, the drain on the power grid is huge. Add to that, the risk in the summer as lightning strikes and transformers don’t well do. The disruption for above ground cabling systems is huge. The cost of pushing those cables under the ground is huge. The single near miss by a lightning strike can take one, two or more transformers. Then you have a power outage. Now in the spring or fall, that isn’t bad, you can open the windows, and the house won’t be uncomfortable.

In the summer and the dead of winter, it doesn’t take long for a house to become uncomfortable. Stuffy is the phrase you often hear. You can’t let the outside air in, and you don’t have power for fans. Solar power offsets some of that risk. But during a bad thunderstorm (when lightning strikes occur) Solar’s systems are not operating at their peak efficiency. That is when a backup system is useful. There are a number, some of the battery systems for Solar and Wind turbines. That allows you to store two days or so of power. The other option is a natural gas operated Home Generator. Each of the two power backup systems allows you to create a Micro-Grid.

A Micro-Grid is a system, just like the power company has, but you are only supplying power to your house. It isolates you from the grid outage caused by the lightning strike. It takes between 4-8 hours to cool a 2000 square foot house. That means if the power is out for more than 2 hours. Your house will have a temperature increase that will take your air conditioning system or heating system 2-4 hours of running to return to your comfort level temperature. The reality of power today is we forget, it has to be generated, transmitted and consumed. All three of those require different systems. Each of the systems can fail. Being without power isn’t a lot of fun.


Raspberry Shake–rocks!

One of the things I’ve talked about many times is the Opensource GeoMicrophone Raspberry Shake. First of all, a Geophone is a form of what used to be called a Seismograph and is the current “best” model for detecting seismic anomalies. People ask me all the time why I have a seismograph at home. As you can see from this mornings chart, the blip that was a little of the earth shaking is why. Yes, having a father that was a scientist did color my persuasion towards scientific instruments. But I also know that getting and learning new things is important to me. My father used always to say “be a life long learner” I am trying to make sure I do my best

Another thing that I consider important for me is weather gear. Since our daily dog walks are outside, and we walk year round, I like to know what the weather is where we are. The National Weather Service (in the US) and the European Weather Service (in Europe) do a great job. As to many weather agencies of South East Asian countries. All do a great job. But as my grandfather used to say “if you are painting a wall that is ten by 10, a 3-foot wide brush is great. If you are painting time that is 3 inches, that 3-foot brush is useless.” The right tool for the job was the variation my dad always used. If you look at the weather where your house is, versus the NSW or weather service information, it can be different.

All of these is coming back to learning! There are a learning curve and a usage curve with any devices you add to your life.

One of the things I do love about the Raspberry PI system is the ability of innovators to create things like the Raspberry Shake, and their newly integrated Raspberry Boom, which integrates a microphone with a Geophone to allow you to hear loud noises and seismic activity. All of this based on the small IoT process (Internet of things) called the Raspberry Pi. The Raspberry PI is an opensource system that is impressive and low cost!


Online security is up to you 3

One of the things I used to do more often, and I should get back to doing is listing the scam phone calls and emails that I have encountered or that friends have shared with me!

1. There is not central windows helpdesk! (1 billion computers, generating between 10-15 errors per day, 10 billion errors, sort that, find YOUR specific computer and call no that isn’t possible)

2. IRS leaving you a threatening voice mail – doesn’t happen.  If the government revenue service in your country wants something from you, they will either appear at your door, or they will deliver a registered letter.

3. PS, any call left in a threatening manner to you personally in a robotic voice is fake.

4. No Nigerian prince has left you millions of Euros, Pesos, dollars or for that matter anything.

5. There is no missing gold in Africa, found and now shared with you!

6. Apple doesn’t send you invoices as PDF attachments. EVER! Just delete that spam!

7. You won the Google email lottery (there isn’t one)

8. You won the Microsoft email lottery (yeah, no)

There are so many more it is sad to me. Please add additional ones in the comments (that is how I collect my lists)! These are my all-time favorite iterations of the many scams floating around. I have personally experienced many of them. My favorite activity for the first call when they used to happen was to see how long I could keep them on the line. (did you say right click or left click? I don’t have a mouse, but I also didn’t hear you). The more of their time I wasted, the less likely they would have time to hurt someone else well.

Here are the simple rules that my grandfather taught me years ago!

• If it sounds too good to be true, it is.

• Ask yourself, why I did I apply or enter this? If the answer is no, then by all means just hit delete!

• Look, before you leap. He said that to me about mud puddles and the resulting splash, but it applies to be online!

Personal and online security starts with remembering that first rule! At the darkest hour, desperation makes us do things we shouldn’t do.