would you press the easy button?

The easy button is a commercial by Staples, and it makes me laugh. Many people I know spend their entire careers trying to build an easy switch. Why do they fail? It isn’t from not working, nor is it because they are not smart enough; it is that life can’t have an easy button. It is the stark reality we all have to come face to face with at various times. There is no way to build a secure switch that can cover all the variables. So we go to experts. Someone that has, in a previous existence or previous company/country, does what we are trying to do. The adage about climbing to the mountain to find the guru is sitting on the peak, ready to give you the answers to all the mysteries.

That guru on the top of the mountain would be an easy button. Yes, it is hard to climb mountains, and the process takes time, but if, in climbing, you could suddenly have the answer to all your questions, well, that would be worth it, right? It doesn’t happen, and so we push ever onward in the quest for the easy button. That one magical, select button that we can push that will solve our specific problem. We could, in chasing the challenge, built an AI (artificial intelligence) that could, on its gather all the variables in your life and give you the easy button. But then you have to ask, should I use the easy button? They always tell us that what does not kill us makes us stronger.

Still, so many people chase that easy button. In the US, the divorce rate has stayed around 50%. Half the marriages started, are ended. If you get divorced once, you are even more likely to get divorced a second time (58% of second marriages end in divorce). Is divorce then an easy button for the wedding? Or is that more the nuclear codes to only be used in case of emergency? I would argue that in the world of technology, the easy button lies just ahead. The reality of technology is that problems are being every day. But, each of those problems brings new challenges. New issues and concerns that have to be dealt with. I would end with the concept of what do you push that easy button?

Once you have it, once you know that all problems can be solved, do you ever push the button?

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Speed up my internet part 3

Let’s begin this post with a note of caution – mobile devices are always different!

The internet that we use to access Virily and other things is not a one size fits all system. That applies to the reality of your mobile device. Let’s break them into two groups, the first being the cellular or smartphone, the second being the Android or Apple Tablet.

How are cellular phones different if we compare them to the Laptops and Desktops most people use today?

Cellular Phone (Smart Phones)

  • Slower processor
  • Less memory
  • Memory on the phone is as fast as the fastest hard drive (Solid State Drive) on a PC.

Tablets

  • Fast processor than your smartphone but slower than your laptop
  • Less memory
  • Memory on the tablet is the same as the smartphone

Why do you care about this? Well, when you open a web page on your mobile device, you have three things to think about. The first is how significant is the page. We don’t often think about how vital a web page is, but one of the reasons Virily limits image sizes (other than the storage cost) is that smaller images load faster on a mobile device. The second is that mobile phone browsers don’t always close pages (Automatically), and finally, the processor can’t handle as many activities. The computer you use to access web sites is most likely a 64 bit processor. To make that more accessible for people to understand that is a highway. Think of the worst traffic you have ever been in. On say a 4 lane highway. If you could double that to 8 lanes traffic would move. Sixteen roads and transportation would run even better. 32 lanes and you probably will never have a traffic jam. Sixty-four ways and the concept of traffic is gone forever. We won’t build 64 lane highways, but a microprocessor in your computer is a 64 lane highway. Apple, Samsung, and others released 64-bit processors on Smartphones and Tablets about three years ago.  They are still in the process of moving things along.

So what can I do?

  1. When you use the phone’s browser, make sure you close the site, before you close the browser if your phone is prolonged check your connection. How good (bars) is your connection now?
  2. Once a week (or more often, if you want), literally turn your phone off! That cleans every program in the memory, and you’ll notice the phone is faster!
  3. If you are outside considering stopping the same if you are in a car, stop, and you might get a more consistent network connection.
  4. Check for call home applications. Consider taking them off your phone unless they are critical.

I will end with the definition of a call home application. Call home applications are on your mobile device but pull live data from the internet. It may not seem like a lot, but if you have several notifications on your phone, you have several call-home applications. I will end with a list of call-home applications, and from there, you can decide if you need them.

  • Home weather stations
  • Podcast players
  • Newsfeeds (not all news feeds call home)
  • Media applications that don’t store local media (streaming)

hopefully, you get the idea. These applications are continually talking to the source of the information they share with you. The more you have, the more likely you are chewing bandwidth.

Links to the rest of the series

https://virily.com/virily_poll/hey-my-internet-is-so-slow/

https://virily.com/virily_poll/speed-up-my-internet-part-ii/

https://virily.com/virily_poll/help-me-speed-up-my-internet/

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Speed up my internet part 2

So we have arrived at part 2 of speed up my internet. The other two posts I’ve shared so far are below.

Optimize my connection

Ok, so this is a fun one. In part because it is easy, in part because it is educational. The world Optimize making better. Or improve to the point of better. Optimize doesn’t mean make something harder to use.

  1. Reduce the number of open browser windows. The joy, the value, and beauty of the internet and web browsers are connecting to multiple things at the same time. The more windows you have open (Virily, Facebook, and so on) in your browser, the more bandwidth you are consuming if your internet gets slow, close windows in your browser.
    1. Think of it as being like your refrigerator. If the fridge is open, you are losing cold air from the side. If you have two, three, four, or more people opening the door and standing there, you lose most of the fresh air the refrigerator is gone. That means the refrigerator motor has to run longer to generate more cold air.
    2. Each browser window you have open is a person standing in front of your refrigerator, wasting your cold air.
    3. Each browser window also consumes memory. The more of your physical memory used, the more you use your hard drive as what is called a swap disk. No matter what, your hard drive is SLOWER than the memory in your computer. If possible, only have 1-2 windows open in your browser. This will help your PC be faster and make your internet seem faster as well!
  2. Virus scanners – make sure you let your scanner run a scan of your computer overnight. That way, it won’t do so when you are using the computer! A security note – while it makes your browsing a little less active, make sure you have a website scanner running if you can. It will stop the accidental opening of malicious sites.
  3. The last tip for today – check the browser you are using. Browser speed can be significantly impacted by what you load in your browser (extensions0.
    1. Install a browser and don’t load any extensions (except the virus scanner). That will be faster!
    2. Safari, Firefox, Opera, Tor, Chrome, and Edge are all available on most operating systems.

Thanks for reading. I will post more tips over the next few days. All of these tips today are safe and guaranteed to work. You don’t have to do anything. Other than follow the steps.

Help me speed up my internet (1)

https://virily.com/virily_poll/help-me-speed-up-my-internet/

https://virily.com/virily_poll/hey-my-internet-is-so-slow/

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Help me speed up my internet

How do you know your computer isn’t listening, blank screen!

One of the things I used to do in my traveling days were helping companies set up areas for specific groups. The reason for that was my original consulting came in helping a graphic arts company set up their network. I learned a lot back in the days of Fiery printers when we were sending files over the web, that shut the system down. I have spent my career ever since trying to help people successfully avoid overloading their home and business networks. So why not share a few fun things you can do to make sure you’re getting the most from your system. First, off, when you call your provider they say to you, it isn’t us. It may not be them. But, quickly, you can test that!

https://www.speedtest.net/

I like Speedtest.net. It is a useful tool, free, and you can run it from any device on your network. I always tell people the slow method is the one to run the speed test on. I run it on my iPhone, iPad, and computers. I would run this tool once a week or so to build an understanding of your actual internet speed.

Upload speed.

How do you understand the numbers?

  • Find your averages over at least three weeks. (latency a number followed by ms, upload and download speed)
  • Both uploads and downloads are wholly dependent; however, on the other system.
  • For example, upload 4 pictures to a web site that is an upload.
  • What you care about is the number list, usually a number followed by ms. That tells you how quickly the DNS of your ISP responds (DNS is Domain Name Server, ISP is internet service provider).

This quick test, if you run it enough, will tell you what your ISP is doing and on a bigger stage how the internet is doing.

More tips to come, for those of us, stuck at home and struggling with our internet connections.

The first step above, understand how fast your connection is!

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Kinsa Smart Thermometers!

The Kinsa Smart Thermometer is a great tool to have in your house. It is connected to your smartphone and has a stand-alone application that runs and stores your current body temperature. It also asks you if you have additional symptoms and can quickly tell you if you need to worry about what is going on. The reality of technology is that it can help us. It can also hurt us if we are not careful. But smart thermometers are a valuable tool for combating things like Covid-19. It’s funny sometimes; I backed the Kinsa Smart Thermometer on Kickstarter four years ago. At the time, I wasn’t thinking about pandemics and medical emergencies. I wanted to make sure I knew the actual temperature range that is normal for the people in my house.

Most people vary between 97 and 98.7 degrees during the day. It is as much because of the makeup of our bodies as anything else.  Knowing what the normal range is, means when you take your temperature, the smart thermometer can help you. If your temp is low, you can enter symptoms and find out if you need to worry. If your temp is high, you can find out what might also be wrong with you. It is the value of connection. As we move forward in the connected world, we have to be aware. Yesterday I talked about the reality of slow internet at home. I suspect most of us have realized that the slowness of the internet probably isn’t the connection our computer has to our internet service provider.

It is more like the number of users connected to the web page or other resource we are using. The reality of the connections has changed. If there is a company that many people work for, they go to that office. That is awesome. The company then provides an internet connection for fact-checking, research, and internet email. Technically most companies don’t want you browsing Facebook at work. All of the employees use one or two provided internet connections. With the Covid-19 virus, the thing that to consider isn’t that the internet has changed. It is that instead of 100 substantial connections to the internet, you now have 100,000 small connections. Lots more people connected, in many lower relationships.

The bad news is the internet is going to be slow for a while. The good news is, it was built for this and can handle this peak load.

You can check this quickly at home. Turn on the water in a faucet and watch the water pressure; then turn on all the faucets and showers in the house, noticing now that the water pressure is less, but more water is flowing into your home. The issue for the internet isn’t the number of faucets it is what to do with all that water!

My internet is slow

https://virily.com/virily_poll/hey-my-internet-is-so-slow/

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My internet is so slow…

Interesting information. The rate and amount of data moving on the internet are higher now than it has been in a long time. Most providers see a 20% or more surge from this time last year. And in many cases a 20% surge to some of the highest traffic ever on the internet. The evolution of traffic is fascinating. The internet is a series of round and unrouted connections. If we type an address in http://myfunnywebsite.com (that is not a real web site) or if we type in an IP address http://199.1.1.1 we are taking or routed to a website or web site on the internet. The second address is how you get around what is called the Dark Web. It is called the dark web because it isn’t rooted.

For the odd site name I typed in above, you enter that in your browser window. Your computer has what is called an IP address. The IP or Internet Protocol is a structured system that allows resources and servers to share information. The speech, as we know, is called a URL or universal resource locator. When the URL is entered, your computer knows to ask a DNS, or Domain name server, where the URL is. The DNS may know, or not. If the DNS does not know, it sends you up the chain to a more authoritative DNS server. That is how information is found on the internet. From there, the site may load information from or to your computer. These are sometimes called Cookies.

The reason for this is to help everyone. When there are more people on the internet (and right now there are many more on the internet most of the day), the internet is slow.  Slow means that the information exchange (sometimes called a handshake) between the server you are connecting to and the computer you are using can be delayed. If a site you are connecting to is prolonged, consider the number o people on the internet right now. Take a breath and let the server you are talking to do the same thing. The good news is that the internet is still functioning fully. There are not currently providers forced to shut down sites and servers due to traffic. Check with your ISP (Internet Service Provider) to see if they intend to do that as the load continues.

Remember, there is a human being on the other end!

An interesting fact from an Adult Learning class I took: did you know that praising adults by name, actually is the most effective way to motivate those not mentioned and praise those mentioned by name! Ault learning theory says that interacting with and praising adults by name is the most effective way period. Referring only to the generic (community, group) is the least effective way to praise adults!

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crazy tech ideas

I know I have a terrible sense of humor. The twins say I tell a lot of dad jokes. I can’t help it sometimes. So, for today I am sharing some strange ideas that popped into my head today!

  1. The social distance alarm, using sonar from your cell phone to notify others they have encroached on your safe social distance. The user, of course, may set the range. I know a lot of people would set the distance at a 1/2 mile or more!!
    1. A loud alarm sounds and you hear a voice “you have entered my safe social distance zone please step back.” actually can I set mine for 3 miles?
  2. Elephant shaped 3d printers.  Why? I don’t know I have just been thinking about it.
  3. HUD devices (heads up displays for cars) that have built in-jokes!
  4. Speaking of jokes, did you hear the one about the Easter rabbit?
  5. I am replacing all the pens in a building with invisible ink pens. Why? Again no reason just things that pop into my head.
  6. A pull my finger club, T-shirt!

What happens when technologies are left alone. Well, without a market to test crazy ideas on, they rattle around inside our heads. This could have been worse. I did get to talk to my wife last night, and that got a lot of the weird ideas out of my head earlier. Do you ever find yourself looking at something and wondering, could it be done differently>? I often do, and sometimes I set out to do the concept.

Anyways let’s make this fun, what crazy technology or merely any other crazy idea do you have today?

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The technology of sleep…

Do you ever stop and wonder? Just stop and consider what is going on around you. Not the news, or the virus or anything like that. Just the sound of the world around you. Did you ever stop and listen to the world?> The sound of the furnace fan or air conditioning fan. The sound of birds chirping in the trees or bushes. The sound of a pet ready for their walk. Just stop and listen. I listen to the world sometimes to hear what is around me. The whisper of the wind as it flows around objects in the yard. It, the wind makes a different sound as it pushes past the footing of our deck. Higher in the air, above the level of the floor, the wind makes a different sound. Have you ever heard of it?

I don’t mean the noise machines that were all the rage just a few months ago. White noise makes you sleep better. No, it’s the sounds of nature that make you sleep better. And so on, each of the machine advertising better sleep. The technology of sleep, that designed to help us, to present us with a better way. That is the problem with advertising. I know what your problem is, this fixes it. But the reality of the market and the existence of the user are often different. That always interesting phrase want versus need comes up. We, in this time of isolation, must consider what we need versus what we want. I have read, seen, and heard of people hoarding things, in part because of fear.

But in part, because they intend to capitalize on the misfortune of others. From a perspective of better sleep, the reality is you need what you need to sleep better. I know that for me, I need a more relaxed room. My spouse needs a warmer place. We compromised using technology installing a system called Eight Sleep. Eight sleep let’s two people have completely different temperatures on the same bed.  We have not added a white noise or native noise system. If you have, share in the comments what you think of that system. Both my wife and I need or prefer a from the mattress. One of the things that can be hard is if you need different mattress firmness. You can consider the new Sleep System, that allows you to have firm and soft on the two halves of the bed.

Technology should enable and empower, not distract and annoy!

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i am a technologist

My passion has long been technology. I moved into the professional technology world nearly 30 years ago. One of the things my wife always jokes is that she married a school teacher, not an IT geek. In part, my transition was more focused on where my heart lay. I loved being a teacher. Anyone that takes the time to teach and help children deserve the same honor as we give to military professions. “thank you for your service,” so I say that to teachers. They serve in jobs that can be hard. It is not easy to walk into a room of kids and, in a week, figure out who can sit together. Who should be in groups? Who can do assignments without needing help? Who wants to be there.

The funny thing, and the reason for my sharing this today, is that the skills I learned as a school teacher applied to IT. Teachers are excellent project managers. They look at the whole picture and have a great ability to see the impact of any one thing. Technologies are the same way, although the one thing many techniques struggle with is the machine to human interface system we sometimes call communication. What IT professionals are competent at is helping with problems. That brings me to my topic for today is a long round-about way—the idea of helping people. I know many people are stuck inside. They are living in their homes and cannot leave.

I am in the boat to a degree, although we do get out to exercise every day. I don’t think my dog would let me stay home without walking.

Based on that, one of the things I think we should all do is say something beautiful to someone. In a comment, in a voicemail or a text or some other online forum, say something cute. It doesn’t have to be poetic, Nor does it have to change the world. Just stop pick one, two of ten people, and say something beautiful. The world is in pain right now. Let’s all be part of the solution. Say something beautiful to someone today!

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Types of wearable medical devices

Connected medical devices have three distinct types of connections. The first is the device itself connects to the internet on its own. The link can be via wifi or cellular. These devices record the information for the Doctor to review, and while capturing can directly and automatically send the information to the Doctor. These devices tend to not be inside the human body, but rather are worn or attached to your clothing as you walk, run, or move around your day. An example of this might be a pulse monitor or a blood oxygenation monitor.

The next type of connection is either wifi or Bluetooth connection to your cellular device. In this scenario, the device can be worn, or it can be implanted in your body. The device then stores data, and when your phone is in range, it uploads information to the phone. In the case of an Apple Watch, the data remains on your device. But there are newer devices that capture information all day, and during the night, or once or twice a day, uploads the information to the Doctor to be reviewed.

The last type of device is worn or implanted, but has a dongle that is connected to your home internet connection. This includes personal safety devices (such as devices designed to allow someone to call for help). This device goes with you wherever you are, and when in the range of the home connected device it uploads the stored data. That is then uploaded to the medical profession for them to review.

It should be noted that the first type of sensor/medical device also can connect to your cell phone for transmission and that the first two are used for urgent medical attention issues. The 3rd is more often used as a failsafe.

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