I may be headset crazy…

I have been struggling with my technology focused blogs for the past few days. In part, because there are some technology “items” I am excited about, but they have not shipped as of yet. I am stuck on the edge of the cliff, ready to jump into the beautiful blue water below, but need to follow my new rules of not hyping things that are not now shipping. It is my rule, and I understand that as the rule maker, I can also be the rule breaker, but I don’t want to lead people to things that may never happen.

Headsets are always interesting to me. I have a couple I use for work (one for my PC and one for my iPhone). I also have a pair of noise-canceling headphones from my traveling days. The last interesting headset I have is the Glyph, a personal theater you can wear. All of these headsets integrate with various devices. What I expect and need from headsets varies, and I tend to have more headsets than I need.

My favorites right now overall are the Jabra. Both of the headsets I have are from their new evolve series. One is a USB connection right to my PC, great for at the office training and VOIP calls. The wireless headset from Jabra 9also evolve) is a great tool to use with your cell phone> Both offer noise canceling. I’ve had headsets over the years that connect to my PC, and phone. These are the first that truly office noise canceling and frankly I won’t ever have a headset again that doesn’t do noise canceling. It makes all the difference when you are trying to listen to a call or watch training on your computer.

The quality of these headsets is also truly the boom style microphone. I love earbuds, but their microphones are limited at best. The Jabra’s have great Microphones that you can swing in front of your face. You will not talk on a crowded subway, but it makes for a better conversation overall!


headset crazy person

Technology conversation and updates…

Sometimes by Tuesday or so, December 12th, I will post my 600th post here on Virily. It was Monday the 11th, and it ended up being 604 posts. It was a busy weekend!  I posted roughly a little more than that on Niume (yes I still miss the community of Niume). It would seem a milestone but not really. I post every day. Two posts a day adds up quickly. Plus I try to share movie reviews and poems on the weekends, so things begin to add up quickly. In that posting frenzy I find that I spend 1-2 hours or so a day on Virily as a site. I would like to spend more of my time on the site reading other bloggers works, and less time sorting through the comments on the site at this point. That is my only real big complaint today about Virily.

Overall its good site for sharing, and a good site for the most part for connecting with people. Given that I have been using the platform for the past few months I do have a few suggests that I think would make the process and site flow better. The first is to separate the Virly’s people get. Comments should be in a separate container so that you can quickly answer all of them. I get 40-50 comments a day, and I doubt that I am even in the higher end of that. I do try to answer every question asked. I do also hate the copy paste comments that some people think are acceptable. Seriously? It takes time to respond to comments on Virily now, please don’t waste my time.

To wrap up my technology blog and veer away from talking about blogging platforms there are a couple of interesting things floating around right now. The first is the update of iOS to 11.2. Get this one as soon as you can; there are some fixes that will improve both your iPad and iPhone experience. There are some critical Windows 10 patches coming, but they are more towards the end of this month, so I won’t bring them up now!



Starting a Family History Project…

A pixie said I should write down the what and how of a Family History project. I did once a long time ago on my WordPress Blog, and again on Niume, but sometimes Pixie’s are right. First of all scanning images can be a daunting task. We started our project because going through and watching slideshows of more than 30,000 images would be arduous and at best painful. Plus, the problem with some of the slides is that they were more than 50 years old and maybe didn’t have 10, 12 or 15 more showings in them. We had to come up with a permanent solution to the problem of our old family pictures.

  1. We bought an Epson Perfection scanner. Yes, the Epson costs more than a standard scanner, but it is capable of handling slides and pictures. Plus the software they bundle with the scanner makes it easier to use.
  2. We also got an external Hard drive and an online picture backup (Carbonite and Amazon), so we had multiple copies of our pictures.

The first part of the project is to separate slides from pictures. In our case that was straightforward, the slides left to me by my father and grandfather were already organized into containers. We then simply placed the slides on the bed of the scanner and away we went. 30,000 slides (actually 38,000 in total) took us a little more than eight months to scan. In part because lives intercede and in part to keep the project rolling, but not make the project overwhelming. We scanner between 1,000 and 1500 slides per week. Some weeks we didn’t make our goal. Some weeks we blew well past the goal.

Organization of the pictures is still ongoing. We began the project in September 2014. The scanning process (38,000 slides and 26,000 prints) was completed in February 2016. We finished the project one week before the big snow in the DC area. They are organized in a series of the folder.

The biggest issue now is that most of the images scanned are much larger than the eight gig limit here on Virily. Plus, the images scanned were not always scanned in the way you would expect  Half of them at least are upside down. Towns the last say, well during all of the project, the scanning crew wasn’t always as interested in scanning.

The other side of the project is what I will speak to tomorrow.


Of giving and selling…

Today in the US is called giving Tuesday. I set up the donations to the places I give money to, for my annual donations on this day. I have rules for charities, in particular, I do not give to any charity that talks about 20% or more of the money going to runt he charity not going to the actual helping. I do watch the organizations after I give, there are charities that were on my list five, six or more years ago that are no longer because they broke my one rule. Don’t spend lots of money running the charity.

Funny, I apply the same rule to crowdfunding campaigns.

If it looks like they are spending too much money getting to the starting gate, I stay away from the campaign.

That one simple rule, by the way, came from my Grandfather. He always said pay attention to what people are trying to sell, but more importantly, pay attention to how they are trying to sell it. You will learn more about the people in the company by how they approach the sale.

Technology is my passion. I love the inner workings of all the things you can do now, that were manual before. Based on that I have come to realize that I look at things and consider technologies long before the average person does. It is why I stopped featuring crowdfunding campaigns on my blog. For the most part, I am looking at things most people are not ready for. I now review the devices after they arrive (with a few exceptions).



Of ROV’s Drones and snapping selfies…

One of the first ROV’s I got was the Brookstone ROV. The original had tank treads that you could drive remotely with your cell phone or tablet. The new one, called the rover is a little more flexible. Both of them allowed you to send the device into a remote room and return video from that remote location. You could also use the microphone on the device to listen to what was being said at that remote location. I still have the device in the basement of the house. I do from time to time light it up and send it out to see what it can see in our basement.

(We currently have four dogs living with us. Of the four dogs, two Serenity and Raven have declared this device unacceptable. Both bark and chase it.)

The world of what you can see is expanding. The first expansion was the explosion over the last two years of the drone market. No, I have not accepted the right of a selfie drone to buzz me yet, but drones are everywhere. The product that intrigues me or the classification within the drone space that I think is the future growth area is that of modular drones. Modular drones allow you to have more than just a camera with your drone. If technology changes (360-degree cameras are coming soon) you simply by the mount and away you go. Aguadrone is a product in the space that starts out with two modules now, sonar and camera both of which are waterproof as is the drone itself!

Finally, we get to the last remote operated vehicle delivering video and images back to you. That being the world of ROVs. Vehicles designed to go where humans require special equipment to go to, underwater. 300 feet or so for many of them. The professional quality ROV’s go well beyond 300 feet. But for a hobbyist interested in what is at the bottom of the lake they like to hang out on, 300 feet is plenty. All of these devices allow you to record video on your mobile device. The only selfie I would approve is an ROV selfie, 200 feet underwater!



the world of fragile information

Superfragileinformation is a term I’ve coined, and it reminds me of Mary Poppins favorite word. The one she says in the movie, that you spend a week after the move learning to say. Even though the sound of it, is something quite atrocious.  Information is something that organizations stress over. The concept of information security is one that organizations spend resources to achieve. Information preservation, protection, and governance have become law in many countries and regions. There are laws and regulations around the concept of what is and how can information be used and seen.

Information is the most and least fragile element of any organization.

  • Least fragile in that there is information that won’t impact the organization if it is lost
  • Most fragile because there is information that if lost, would destroy the organization

Its why I often use what I call the information framework. The three components of the framework are risk, value and time. Where risk represents the spectrum above, can we afford to lose the information? Value is the other side of risk, where we can attribute the value of the information once shared and finally time. How quickly does the information become stale? How quickly does the user need the information for it to be valuable?

The best example of this is information that is provided to a user quickly can be consumed properly and ultimately benefits the company. The other side of this is that same information not provided in a timely fashion resulting in a loss. When the information arrives can greatly influence both the ability to act on that information but also the reality of the impact of the information based on the time. Bill Gates always used to say “right information, the right time to make the right decision.”

More to come…


information wanderer

Follow on from Yesterday’s talking speaker post :0(

My apologize for yesterday’s post, the table which looked perfect in my pre-publication and draft publications looks like crap now that it is published. The easy button answer to yesterday’s high-level initial testing is included below (adding in a couple of other voice recognition players):

Siri – best for interacting with an iPhone or iPad. Siri struggles with complex operations. Siri does well with media. Siri is integrated with other IoT and technologies. Siri is the worst performer when it comes to ambient noise.

Cortana – On a Windows 10 device, Invoke speaker or iPhone handles complex questions well. Cortana does understand and respond well and correctly regardless of noise (within reason). Overall Cortana performs better on the iPad and iPhone than Siri. Its limitation is it can’t do all the things Siri Can.

Amazon Echo – the most integrated device in the space and the list of integrations is growing. The overall impact of the integration is significant. Does struggle with complete data questions and overall doesn’t do as well with Ambient noise as Cortana does.

Google Home – integrated within the Google space very well. Is also, like the other three adding devices it can talk too rapidly. Does, as well as Cortana in the Ambient noise world, does exceptionally well with complex questions. Google Home integrates well with Google Play.

Jibo – bar none the cutest. Better at Jokes than the other speakers are. Jibo struggles with Ambient noise a bit.  Doesn’t have integration today and struggles with complex questions.

My list is expanding! Sorry about-about the table formatting. The clear winners are detailed below by what category you are looking to add a home interaction device to your life for.

  1. Overall integration – Amazon Echo
  2. Overall voice recognition – Microsoft Cortana
  3. Overall cute – Jibo