Of trolls and the end of the world…

In the social media and technology worlds, there are people who love baiting so much they got their designation, Troll. A social media troll is someone who posts easily misinterpreted and often less than kind comments on your posts. They, the troll, throw up their arms when the author or other posters get offended often using the phrases “I didn’t mean it that way,” or “you are reading between the lines, misinterpreting what I am saying.” They, the trolls, often cause problems for authors, bloggers and for people that want to have an interesting discourse on a topic. They, the trolls, inflame and consume the conversation.

The best thing we can do in the modern age of Social Media is ignoring trolls. Don’t comments, don’t respond and best of all ignore. I know personally, I often struggle to ignore trolls. I’ve been baited many times into responding. I know the minute I respond that I shouldn’t have. Sometimes though, you just have to respond. My grandfather used always to tell me “It is better to be thought of as stupid than open your mouth and prove it.”

I would love to propose that Social Media sites include a troll button. One that you can select and use. Today you can in many cases block users, block comments and mark users as spam. Marking them as trolls might be a better solution for sites to consider. Trolls take the fun out of posting, out of communicating with everyone that ends up reading the troll comments. Certainly ignoring them works to a degree but it doesn’t solve the overall issue. When two people are communicating, it is never just one side that misinterprets. Communication you see is always a two-way street so if you have a misfire; both people are responsible.

New button for anti-troll posts. The billy goat gruff button!


Troll hunter

What is the modern world?

What is the modern world? I was told that someone, commenting on my post was in the modern world. By default, that communicated to me that I was not in the modern world. Why bring something up if it doesn’t apply to the conversation?  That got me thinking. First of all, if you fail to recognize history, you are doomed to repeat it. In considering the history of “the modern technology world,” I realized there are some mistakes I think are best not repeated. The first is the reality of copyright infringement (think Napster). Today there are some legitimate streaming services that provide legal access to music via the internet, as radio did and does. But it is important to remember two things, free streaming music and songs are the Intellectual Property of the artist and the studio and produced that music. Copying that without explicitly permission is wrong.

In fact, if we look at the reality that is the modern world, we need to tread lightly on those who built it. Let us, in our rush to embrace and extend, not forget those who built the world we are in. Why? Because frankly if you don’t know how something was constructed and what it replaced you run the risk of being unable to fix the things. The first rule of a good helpdesk person is not exceptional technical knowledge; it is the simple reality of “I own your problem.” It is about communication and how we interact with the world around us. Answering a helpdesk call with a perfunctory “what” won’t cause users to stop calling you, it will start users complaining about you.

Continuing the trend of mistakes not to repeat, the reality of the birth of WiFi. We started with packet radio networks or Mobius. If you look at the many technology paths that were created right before WiFi was perfected there were some bad alleys there. The reality of the new age of home networks is the limits of DSL and Cable modems, UPLOADS. I would wish that we could resolve that problem, but instead, we are bombarded by lambasting instead of simply offering a path forward.

I guess the easy answer is from a technology basis I helped build the modern world. I have built and designed multi-national compute systems and help today to share the concepts of both Hybrid Cloud and how we use technology. I am I guess, in fairness not in the modern world. I am in the world that won’t be here for another 10 minutes!


Modern, only means today

The strangling of IT by Expert Cultures…

I am going to share more details and thinking of the cloud calculator on my LinkedIn post this week. I will share a link to it tomorrow. The concept of the calculator is simple, remove the expert culture bias, but also help the organization filter through marketing to get the answers that are viable and valuable for them. I think that companies often struggle because of the reality of expert cultural”ism.” Yes, I may up the world, just like the other word I made up a few years ago #Ilackasourcism, you can add #expertculturalism.

The rule of course for making up works is they have to be used in multiple published sources. So my blog doesn’t count as multiple published sources. I think over time they both will catch on though. The first because that is one of the worst ways to argue ever. If someone hands you a source, and you continue arguing without a source, shame on you! The expert culture issue is one I have seen grow in IT over the years. It becomes an issue when it impedes progress.

One of the problems with #expertculturalism is the analysis paralysis it creates. Movement is slowed to a crawl as the experts line up to debate the placement of commas and the reality of other punctuation. It takes a really strong leader to cut through the issue. The real problem with an #expertculturalism issue in your organization is that over time you reduce the input of new and young employees, they are part of the culture, they are part of the outside. You create a reality where young ideas flow away from your organization. You also are trapped in the vision of the experts. Over time this will pass, but for now it is all over cloud computing solutions.


lost in a sea of frustration

Wander upcoming cool tech

There are some interesting products releasing or updating right now that I find fascinating. The first is the interesting product Raspberry Shake. Raspberry shake is a home seismograph or one you can donate to your child’s school for the science program. (To donate or buy one visit this site and you get my reader’s discount code as well RSEND17 should be put into the coupon field). The newest version they have created is a self-enclosed Raspberry PI based Seismograph. I know most people don’t think that they need a seismograph. I think they do, but that is wholly my humble opinion.

The upcoming 10th-anniversary release of the iPhone is extremely interesting. In part because the last release included 256 gigs of memory. I’ve played with every form of external memory you can add to an iPhone; suddenly I didn’t need it anymore. That is important when you consider I am a huge Audible Fan and have a large music collection. Now I can plug my iPhone into my car and play what I want to play, or listen to the SiriusXM radio in the car. I am no longer bound or wound to what is available broadcast over the air.

I am not as excited about the iPad’s that are coming so I am not including those. I am excited, however, about the release hopefully very soon of both Keecker and Jibo. Robotics and upcoming Robotic releases are something I monitor. In part because there is just so much possible with AI and beyond. I did upgrade to a 4th Amazon Echo in the house; we have the Dot, the Echo, and the new Vision. I like the vision because it shows you the news in a running scroll all day. You can say Alexa tell me about, whatever was just on the screen and Alexa will play that part of the news for you. It lets me pick and choose the news I consume.

I won’t bore you with another, I with ROV’s were shipping. I backed two projects and I awaiting their delivery. But most people are not interested in seeing what is below the water or for that matter check the status of an earthquake.

As I learned a long time ago, people are motivated by their needs, not my needs. Sad when you think about it, it would be so much easier if everyone was motivated by my needs! That said, the spectrum of cool tech this week applies to parents, teachers, and people into Robotics. Hopefully a fairly wide net!


techno fan

What if we designed systems to succeed?

There are some technologies that I wonder why they aren’t taking off. In part because I find them extremely valuable and something that I use nearly every day. Solar power is one that I find interesting. Solar power to me seems like it is lagging in the US. Part one is the reality of Home Owners Associations and the perception that a solar array reduces the value of a house. I am not sure why free or extremely reduced price power that you don’t have to worry about brownouts and other things like that would make your house worth less. I would think, at least I would personally, that every buyer would demand solar on the house.

The other funky reality that I wonder about lately is that of safety in cars. There are some safety ratings for cars today, 5-star crash ratings, etc. I would like to see the airbag safety listed as well. If the airbag deploys can you get out of the car? If the airbag deploys will you be in better shape than if it did deploy and so on? It is a very similar ask that I have for cloud service providers who run around with cost value equations and performance numbers that are only relevant to the person that put them together.

I wrote about a cloud calculator in my last book published nearly two years ago now. (It may be time to start on a new book). The cloud calculator was designed to help customers understand not only what they wanted to build and deploy but also to understand the impact of a specific cloud provider on the solution they were considering. Not all networks are created the same. Not all solutions operate the same way.

I liken the cloud calculator to building a motorcycle. The most important thing for a motorcycle is that it be balanced. If it isn’t balanced, you are more like to “put the bike” down. That isn’t a good thing. You could, however, take the motor and make the front tires much wider. What this would do is make the big more stable. It would also make it much harder to turn the bike right or left. I always tell customers to make sure you know what motorcycle you want first, then, what do you need that motorcycle to include. That is what the cloud calculator system does for you. Like I said you can find it in my current book, Operating beyond your borders.

Another way you can look at the analogy is the bridge in the cover picture. If you design a boat that is too tall or too wide, you limit the ability to the boat to move. Boats that can’t move have to be docked, but they also cannot move in the case of an emergency. If your goal is movement, that isn’t a good design.

Seamless is only a word if it applies to clothing. It never applies to migrations.


technology strategist

What could we enable if we tried?

Key the lights. Focus on what you see. Now move that to the right. Not your right sorry, my right. Now look again is it the same? That is the magic of change. Even small changes in the world around us can trigger a reaction. Large changes can cause panic. But the other side of the change wheel is we sometimes don’t even notice a change has happened. I am invoking a new form of change management that I call Change Ninja. You don’t even know, such as in my opening statement that in fact, the change has occurred.

Plug and play were what, once upon a time was offered with Windows 95. Plug any device in, and the computer will know what it is, will download the drivers and make the device operational. That started to work in Windows 7 and to a degree in Windows XP. A slow change over time. In part because the device manufacturers didn’t play by the rules and in part because it takes the time to implement small change. Now though, You can pretty much plug in any device, and you are good to go!

If you don’t notice a change then did it happen?

That subtle shift of functionality, the ability to create move and ultimately plug any device in is a huge change driver. Change is always around us. We only hate it, when it directly impacts us!

One of the changes we do need to make, however, is the functionality, integration, and implementation of hardware and software integration for those who cannot use a computer the way other people do. They are fully capable of interacting with the computer; they just need alternative data entry and data management technology. That change needs to be abrupt, fast and yet have no impact on the users!

Let’s move to a more enabled world!


looking for connections

Why are enabling technologies lagging?

When we consider enabling technologies, or technologies that make the user experience uniform for all users, there is a growing gap. Tobii offers eye tracking hardware that coupled with the right software allows you to input information into your computer with only your eyes. Leap and Myo offer you the ability to use motion to enter information into the computer and Dragon, as well as Office Dictate from Microsoft,  allow you to speak to your computer to generate input. The issues with all of the “enabling” hardware today is the reality of setup and configuration. Plus you have to have support people that support both the enabling hardware and the combination of that hardware and the software the user needs to be successful.

I am not, by the way advocating that business stop using the enabling hardware. Rather I am calling for the companies building them to do a better job. Today, the many available solutions have an impact both on the computer, and the user. We need to move to a new order in the enabling technology space that removes the impact on the user. As the Google Home device and the Amazon Echo devices continue to add skills and abilities the reality of speech recognition is going to improve. AI focused on pre-determining, and finishing sentences for people will be a value add going forward.

Still, we need to create solutions that enable users more effectively. Applications need to operate the same way with enabling and without enabling devices. It has to be easier to implement the technologies need to unlock the value of the person using them!

This blog was dictated by the Dragon Naturally Speaking product and a Jabra Evolve 80 headset. I am going to try Office Dictate this weekend. Just to see if they are improving. My primary issue with both the Office product and the Dragon product is that they are wholly input driven. The same is true of Amazon Echo and Google Home. The quality of the input drives the ability of the system to respond. As we move down the path of improving, we have to be able to input via voice with ambient noise factored out.

Until that happens, randomly add the words Google and Alexa to your vocabulary. You can find out quickly if your friends have either device in their homes!


Time flies when you are baking a cake.