Building a tech presentation for schools…

I was building out my presentation (I am starting my school visits the end of this month) of cool tech. I am no longer, for safety reasons allowed to fly a drone in the crowd. The kids loved seeing their aces on the screen behind me, but principals tell me that is a no-no due to insurance rules. That is fair, so instead, I will show the drone, although I am going to ask if I can at least use a smaller drone on stage with me. The goal of these presentations is to get the future excited about the art of the possible and the art of the potential.  It is fun; normally they ask to speak for 46 minutes towards the end of the day. The first time I did this, they had me speak at the end of the day to the Seniors.

5 people could ask questions; the rest of the kids had to rush to the bus. I ended up with more than 100 emails with questions. The next layer I presented to the Juniors and the Seniors, but they left a half hour for questions. I still ended up with more than 100 emails to answer. I didn’t do a presentation due to my job requirements for a year. I started up again about four years ago. This is my 7th year in Maryland and 6th time presenting. In the past four years, I have moved earlier in the afternoon so that I could answer questions. It is also fun because now I get to present to the entire student body of the tech high school (Freshman – Seniors).

This year is the first year that everyone except for the youngest (freshman) have seen my presentation. I am going to have to come up with more dad jokes.

Here are the technologies I am covering this year:

  1. 5g handset networks (now live in Chicago and Minneapolis Minnesota. It will next be live in Seoul South Korea).
  2. Drones. I have to.
  3. 3d printers and the magic of the mind, to software to the printer.

I suspect I will work up a few dad jokes as well. I have a few, but you can always use dad joke backups or as I like to call it RAIDJ (redundant array of inexpensive dad jokes). You can never have too many Dad Jokes. I do keep and share a running tally of groans for the presentation and share it with the audience. That normally gets a laugh!


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!


Cool Tech Review Samsung Family Hub Refrigerator….

One of the things that were nice about the house we bought in Maryland was a nice Subzero refrigerator in the Kitchen. It was a Samsung, and we loved the frig! Not mind you that it was a family member, just that it was a really good addition to the kitchen. Now, sadly last March the frig gave up the ghost. Died, or whatever that refrigs do when they stop working effectively. For the most part, it was the freezer itself that died. We have a second backup fridge in the garage and were able to save the frozen items. But the fridge was dead. We called the repairman, and they said it would be around 1200 dollars to fix the fridge. Or, we could spend roughly 800 more for a new fridge.

(With the new fridge you also got a 5-year warranty).

We looked at some fridges and ended up staying with Samsung. In particular, we decided to get the new Samsung Family Hub refrigerator.

  1. The refrigerator is adjustable. You can move the drawers around in the main compartment to accommodate different sized items.
  2. It has an ICE and filtered water dispenser on the left side.
  3. The doors are solid, and the refrig alarms when the doors are left open.
  4. The freezer is sub-zero and rolls out easily.

Overall the refrigerator is a great addition to our house. The filter (for water on the door) is really easy to change. The filter we had in the old frig was rather frustrating to change. Overall the unit fits perfect and has lots of room for magnets on the side. My wife doesn’t like magnets on the front of the fridge. They are required to be on the side and occasionally moved to the front.

Overall I give the Samsun Family Hub refrigerator a 9 out of 10!


tech is my life

The devices are coming….

The Internet of Things, or Things that connect to the internet. It is a massive change in both the way we consider, evaluate and of course use the things around us. There was time; I remember when television didn’t have a cable connected to the wall.  It had, either an antenna on the back or on top of the set itself. Sometimes to improve reception, there would be an aluminum foil on the antenna. We used to sadly joke that the only way to get channel 8 out of Terre Haute Indiana during a storm was to hold the antenna and stand on one foot.

Now TV’s are connected (or they can be). Mostly to a cable that plugs into the wall  It can go to the roof and a satellite or off to a cable junction box. That is not the only connection your TV may have now. It can also directly connect to the internet. It is your TV, one of the internet of things or IoT devices in your home. It now, one of many such devices. If we do the math, there are 3 to 4 IoT devices for every single human being on earth. That number is going to grow to roughly 7-10 in just the next two years.

This is not to scare you, but connected; it is not meant to make you run around your house and unplug everything. But it meant to have you consider what it plugged in today. The security of your home is critical. You would never leave your front door open. Right? Well, you might if you lived in Mayberry USA (the town where the Andy Griffith show was set 40 years ago). The reality is you probably wouldn’t. Why leave your internet front door wide open? I highly recommend you get an internet security device to make sure your computers are safe. At the very least download anti-virus and Anti-Malware software on your computer regardless of windows, Mac or Tablet. Just have that protection for your devices.

You won’t be sorry on the internet for future things if you secure your things now!

.Tech Wiz

Working together to improve Virily (and another poll)

One of the things I have often worried about is the anger that happens so quickly when it comes to issues with Web Sites. I used to write for a site called Niume. I enjoyed my time on the site. At the end of the time Niume was still functioning they announced the site would be closing. At that time it was recommended that everyone download their posts. The sad reality of all those posts, however, was that if you have more than 400 posts, the system wouldn’t be able to download your posts into a file.  I backup all of my posts so I didn’t lose anything, I couldn’t use their site recovery and backup option, but I had my backups of everything.

What I did lost was a year of links to posts. That was hard to take, and I decided if I was ever in a position of being on a similar site, that I was going to make sure I did everything possible to keep the site alive. That is why I spend so much time talking about ways we could improve the Virily site. I don’t want to have another Niume crashing down around me. That doesn’t mean the Virily site doesn’t have issues. It does, and it could be better. However, the thing that I think is important to share today is the reality of Virily. They, the editors and admins, actually pay writers. In paying writers, they create a 1099 type relationship with us as content creators. There is a pride factor and of course a financial incentive to make things better!

Earlier this week the social media connection for twitter was down. The admin team responded to my post on Facebook and reset the connection in less than 10 minutes. That makes me happy because it means the admins are responding to and trying to solve problems. Like solving problems in our personal lives the reality of solving complete application issues can be daunting. The fact that the admin team is responding means they are trying!  That said, I do know and understand that the issues people are discovering can be frustrating and painful. It is hard to balance the reality of what people need, what they perceive and how they perceive it. Anger is a normal response to things not working the way you would like them to work!



moving forward! Let’s figure out how to improve Virily!

It can be fixed!

I posted a poll yesterday to start gathering information bout Virily users. I will post another poll and share the results of the first poll later this week, or if I end up swamped at work, next weekend. I did, however, want to say there are two things to think about here. The first thing is information. Problems like the ones we’ve all experienced are complex. The reality of that complexity is that we don’t know what is causing the issues right now. The process to get to that answer is called Root Cause Analysis (RCA). To do a good job of finding out what is going on, you start an RCA process. This involves removing Variables. That is one of the goals of the pool I shared this weekend. You can find a link to the poll here.

The initial goal, understand how and what people use to connect with and publish to Virily. That process is started. The reason for that is to see if there are platform specific errors. IE, I can’t comment on lists in Chrome. But I can in IE (which by the way I checked and is not true. You can’t comment on lists in the four browsers I’ve tried so far.). Another issue that people have been discussing is the latest list bug. This bug says you can’t see all verified authors in the latest view. I played around with this one, just like the last one, and I found that in fact if I used chrome, I had the problem. One of the verified users that other people see is a writer I frequently read. I tried Internet Explorer (IE) and the issue when away.

One of the things that developers do is at times they develop a site based on the use of a standard browser. In other words, a site may appear to have issues interacting with Chrome, but not Edge. It may have issues working with Edge, but no Firefox. It depends on the expected underlying technology. Apple with its Safari browser supports Java but not flash.  That makes a significant difference and important. Even if there isn’t a standard browser as a goal, whatever the primary developers use to build a site, is most likely to work. These are things that users can fix on their own, and honestly, cause a number of issues. Over the next few days, I will continue to post technical questions to pull together into a Virily community report!


Tech Wiz

Of weather, new tech and Cyber!

M, y father would have loved a time-lapse weather station. The Bloomsky continues to provide Yesterday’s Snarky Weather Forecasts, and frankly, I am enjoying the snarky part. It is funny to watch local news stations add drones and time-lapse weather to their forecasts. The reality of weather tech is interesting. You can, now, with two dongles, have a weather station that is your iPhone. The accuracy of the temperature readings is the biggest risk. For example, yesterday with my Bloomsky time-lapse video you (see link above) would notice that the temperature of my station reached 101 degrees, but the minute the sun passed to the other side of the house, not directly shining on the weather station, the temperature drops 5 degrees.

Yes, 5-degree drops happen all the time, Normally, when it is raining. Without rain, it is because the sun is no longer directly shining on the weather station. An interesting factoid, it is hotter in the direct sunlight than it is in the shade. Understanding the what and why of variance is critical when publishing weather data. It is even more critical when considering the impact of cyber security on your organization. What truly is cybersecurity? I read an interesting conversation about Cyber and the impact of a board of directors or board of advisors. That Cybersecurity should come from the top, from the overall business strategy. While I do think that is critical, it cannot be the only way cyber enters the organization.

Strategy often is the big picture view of what could be done. The reality is, that the further away from the strategic view you get, the more likely you are to find that in fact, there are workarounds. One of the things I argued in my book on Innovation was the reality of what companies have created. The concept is new ideas. The reality is that sometimes organizations push new ideas out the door because it doesn’t fit with the existing model. Look at all he crowdfunded technologies in the market today. Cybersecurity is such a place in the business as well. You want a top-down strategy, but you need a bottom-up delivery system, If the top down, forces the creation of a new bottoms-up model, the top isn’t going to see what happens next. The integration of strategy and delivery is critical in Cybersecurity systems.

it matters…

so does IT!