There are many things I have chased for many years. Technologies that I thought would be well, better than the ended up being. I spent some years chasing the projection laser keyboard. I finally found one that works well, but that quest took many more years than it should have taken. There are some other things that I have chased. 3d printers and 3d scanners are technologies I’ve chased until I found the answer to my issues. Sometimes when you chase new tech, you have to realize you are going to fail overall. Failure isn’t a bad thing. Everyone on earth fails at least once in their life, or in my case I often fail once a day. Failure is something we all have to consider and prepare for, period!
I seek technologies for two specific personals and some professional requirements. For me, it is comfort and time. Comfort, when it comes to technologies are technologies that help me feel better. Nice speakers connected to the music I love would be an example of comfort technologies. The other thing I seek from technology in my personal life is saving time. I understand that if it takes me a little time to learn a device, but over time I will save time that’s ok. Time is one thing we never have enough of. Those are my primary personal drivers for the technologies I consider. I do at times also evaluate the impact of technology on the world around me, but that is less critical for me than the first two, Comfort and time.
Professionally, however, I have to consider a few other things, and the impact of technologies becomes more critical. I often argue the importance of markets when considering technologies professionally. That’s why I number of crowdfunding campaigns have reached out to me, helping them make a reality TAM (TAM is Total Addressable Market). The reality of markets is this, potential vs. real. If the market for technology is 1 dollar, you as a company will be able to control less than a dollar. Where that dollar has multiple slices what you are aiming for is initial control of more than 60% of the market. That sadly has nothing to do (in many cases) with your tech and more with your market plan). Controlling more than 60% can get you in trouble with the various global governments (monopoly) controlling less than 50% is ok as well, but then more critically what is the size of the overall market. The reality of technology for me is often the overall reality of the potential market the technology impacts.
I know lately, I hear a lot of fear when people talk about AI. As my twins on occasion say “I am nice to robots, you know, for after the uprising when they decide to keep some of the humans aro9und.” It makes me laugh when they say that. In part because I wouldn’t put it past them to think that way, in part because it is funny. AI, however, offers some interesting freedoms for humans in the future. AI would humans doing boring and repetitious jobs to do something else. People always then answer with the statement “AI will take human jobs.” I worry when people say that. It by means in part they don’t always understand. I spent three summers detasseling corn in Southern Indiana. Detassling corn is a manual job today. You pull the tassel off the top of the corn. This allows the tassels of the required corn to fertilize the other corn. It is how seed companies develop new breeds of corn. It is an awful job. Corn leaves are sharp, and like paper love to slice exposed skin. Corn in the summer so it was hot outside, but we had to have thick shirts and jeans on all day. By the end of the day we were so tired we just went home and went to bed.
There many jobs like that in the world today. We can replace some of them with AI systems going forward. A system capable of discerning between corn stalk, and tassel. That would mean that while there would be jobs lost, they aren’t always the jobs people want to be doing.
Picking apples, picking cotton, picking anything that is done by hand today, could in the future be done by an AI driven robotic system. That would release human beings to do jobs that require more interaction. AI present a great opportunity in the future.
the future isn’t scary, it just isn’t here yet
One of the conversations I often have both with myself and with others is the backpack versus rolling bag argument. I have both types of bags and have used both types over the years. There was a time when wearing a heavy backpack while traveling messed up my shoulder. But, there are and remain times when the reality of a rolling bag is at best annoying and at worst, virtually useless. Dragging a rolling bag through snow isn’t fun. Now, with some of the newer things that bags offer that I find useful is a solar power array sewn into the bag and a power supply. There are a few things that I think future bags could add that would be of value.
- Integrated connector for cameras like the go-pro, so you can film as you hike. There are bags that have this now, but the critical thing is to get a single bag with all of them!
- Solar power capable of charging an extended life battery.
- Wire system so that you can connect to the battery but not have wires hanging out of your bag
Now there are other things that I think would be critical including rip stop nylon bags. I have seen backpacks for kids recently that are bulletproof, while interesting I suspect that is more than I need to consider walking around in the IT world. I would also think that having a wifi router built in would be useful. One that could connect to your cellular phone and the wall plug of a hotel room, conference room or other Ethernet connection and allow all your devices to connect.
The future of bags looks a lot like yesterday. We are closer now, but there are still so many things we need to add to bags to make them more effective overall!
Or, perhaps I need to carry less with me.
I decided after many years to upgrade the quality of the sound recorder for my podcast. In the past, I have used a handheld zoom, a great tool, but frankly, it just doesn’t have the same quality as a dedicated microphone. In January I will post my first podcast with the new system, we will have to see if the sound quality has improved. I try to post two podcasts a month and often share my Fred and Ed stories on my podcast. Https://docanersen.podbean.com. The podcast is also listed in the iTunes podcast application. I won’t say it is the greatest podcast you will ever listen o, but it is the best one I have ever created.
One of my goals for the new year is more focused reviews. Reviews of technologies more focused on things people need and use. That is a change from my current shameless review series that focuses on things I am interested in, but that other people may not need for many years. This isn’t me giving up on high tech; rather it is me responding to reader asks. I have sometimes been asked over the last five months to focus on things people need and use.
I will pick a category based on reader feedback and then will pick the best device in that category to review. I have lots of years of technology experience both as a user and as an administrator. I will happily focus on either pending of course, who asks me and what they are looking for in the review. My ratings will include the easy of installing the hardware or software and of course the ease of use. My scale focuses on use, value and of course pending who asked any other things. I will rate the solution on a 1-10 scale.
10 best perfect amazing
7-9 really good
4-6 good to average
3 below average
1-2 not good at all
Thanks for the feedback – hopefully, this will help people!
I spend a lot of time talking about the concept of, the release of and eventual use of Modular Drones. From the addition of the FLIR drone module to the addition of 360-degree cameras, the potential is beyond amazing. There are some industries that have already rushed to embrace the drone world. Oil and Gas pipelines use drones to patrol the pipeline from above. The unblinking eye of the drone sees leaks faster sometimes than a human would.
2018 will be the year these new styles of drones hit the ground running. You can today, replace the capabilities of many drones. It is not, however, a rapid plug and plays or screw and unscrews operation. It takes a little time. With the newer faster release modules you will be able to swap modules quickly. From sonar to 360 cameras on your drone in less than the time it takes to land the drone, and swap the battery.
Drones today, at least the smaller ones that are commercially available, have a battery reality. I say reality because they are bound to between 20 and 25 minutes of maximum fly time per battery. The modular drones will have the similar flight time limits. They will, however, be able to produce much more data.
- Underwater or waterproof camera images
- FLIR infrared imaging
- Metal detector
All of these will require modification to the drone, and to the devices. Personally, I know the FLIR device is shipping now. I would love to get a chance to test and play with it. From a flying over my neighbor’s roofs and letting them know how much that they are losing would be a value-add. The Sonar modules are coming soon. The others are more wishful thinking, 360 cameras are out, and the gimbals have been announced. The last one, metal detectors have been advertised but not as of yet shipped.
2018 the year of the modular drone!
Author’s Note: Yesterday December 18th, 2017 a drone was used to find a lost hunter in Virginia. Because of the hunters bright Orange hat, but also becuase they deployed a drone to search a lot more ground than humans can!
I don’t just make this stuff up!
I promise this is the last in my family history project series. IV seems to cover all the topics. First off, here are links to the first three.
The first component I recommend is scanning all the old pictures and slides you have. For that, I highly recommend the Epson Perfection series of the scanner. The software is really easy to use, and the scanner is a dream. High-quality scans that are easy to edit. The higher the resolution of the scans the happier you will be later. In fairness, most of the scans we have done are between 14 and 24 megs. Too large for posting on some online sites, but better to have higher-quality pictures later anyway.
For me, the second component was converting my grandfather’s films. Lot’s of 16mm films. I considered the possibility of me doing that conversion, but decided instead to ship the films off and have them converted. I choose iMemories, and honestly, it was the right choice. They not only converted all the film to digital video files but also sent me a very nice DVD collection (3) of my Grandfathers 30 or so 16 mm films. I highly recommend iMemories.
The last part of the Family History project is the blog. Now, I had a blog before the project started. But I began a focused blog that later became the Wander project shortly after I realized just how many slides and pictures we had, that few humans had ever seen. I took my blog and converted it to the Family History project blog, and that I started calling the Wander Project in honor of the work my kids did in the fifth grade. You can find that blog here http://scottoandersen.wordpress.com.
I also post family history videos (I have a lot of them) on my families YouTube Channel.
family history starter and tech guy
Continuing my how do I do a Family History project of my own, posts. Now, number 3 in this series. First of all the most thing, there is only one Hemingway. John Steinbeck was a unique writing talent (and how he thought of a beer float in Cannery Row, I will never know). Those great literary giants both started with their first story. Most of us start writing when we are 4, 5 or 6 years old. We are hopefully, encouraged to write down ideas and concepts by our teachers.
That first part of the family history project is getting the pictures. The second part is sharing those pictures. The what and how of sharing for me is a blog. What you share and how you share it, is entirely up to you. Sharing the stories, concepts, and jokes that bind the pictures taken to moments shared. You see there is a difference between a picture and memory. Certainly, pictures trigger memories. But the picture seldom captures the memory. As I have expanded my family history project, I have started calling it my Wander project.
In part a wander project based on what my kids did in 5th grade. Frist my daughter (Marengo Cave) then my sons (Vincennes and Corydon). They, the kids, had to go to a location in Indiana, take pictures of that trip and tell a story. The wander project mimics that school assignment. It takes pictures and memories that I have of moments and shares them. It is the last part of my family history project. Sharing my dreams, memories, and thoughts. Look not all of the family history projects is worthy of anything other than well picture review. Many of the posts aren’t good. It isn’t about good or bad posts. It is about what tomorrow will remember. “Tomorrow has no memory of today.” Sandler Boggs.
For tomorrow to have memories of your today, start a family history project!
wander project creator (well my wander project)
Today, like every other day started in front of a computer working on my blogs. I started my blogs back in 2005. 12 years and more than 6000 posts. It sometimes seems like only yesterday when I was only posting once a day or less than that once a month. In moving to posting every day, I found myself more energized and ready for the posting. Instead of agonizing over every word I posted. If it weren’t a good post, well tomorrow would be better.
When I look back at some of my blogs, I do see some horrible posts. It goes in part with learning, not your audience but your voice. I read and still read hundreds of blog posts over the course of a month. I learn and pick up things from other bloggers sitting at my desk. There are many things I have added; more pictures were one of the things I learned. I suspect the addition of pictures in part also for me coincides with the death of my father.
That got me thinking about how much the blogging tools I use now, have changed in the past 12 years. I used only to use Windows Live Writer, which I still use for my WordPress posts but now only for WordPress. My WordPress blog was once the most currently it is between 2 and four days behind my other web posts. The tools I use the most for blog creation are listed below:
- Microsoft Word (to create the text)
- Logitech Wireless Keyboard
- Logitech Wireless Mouse
- In theory my brain but based on some of my older posts not always true.
The only one on the list that I was using 12 years ago is my brain. The other three have been added over time. I love my Logitech Keyboard and Mouse. They work perfectly and are a great addition to my blogging process.
There was an earthquake in Costa Rica yesterday. My seismograph saw the tremor and recorded it. That is the what and why of having scientific structures and internet of things devices in your home. To be able to interact with information that is important to you. The reality of IoT devices is the reality of information. Both the creation of (such as the Raspberry Shake) or the consumption of information. As we move down the path of what information we have available to us, it becomes an interesting question.
I have a really good friend who has a drone. He uses that drone to check his roof after storms. When the insurance company argued with him, he sent them time-stamped videos of a week before and a day after the storm. The insurance company sent an adjuster to the house and agreed with him that the storm had damaged his roof. Would they have done so as quickly without the drone footage, I don’t know. I do know that he flies over his house, and three of his neighbor’s houses now checking the roofs.
I have another friend I met through the forums for NetATMO, the home weather station. She and her husband also have a NetATMO system at their home. We started talking about weather gadgets online. She and her husband just bought a Bloomsky. I can’t wait to see the video they produce from Idaho. That is the wonder of technology, both the ability to connect and communicate but also the ability to see and record events! Knowing what is going on around you, helps!
A comfortable chair.
It seems like that isn’t something that matters, and for many years in my life, it didn’t. But, a comfortable chair, matters now. Well, it matters to me personally. I need a chair that supports my back helps me be comfortable while working and is flexible. For years I bought good chairs that cost around 200 US dollars. They would last two, three years and then they would give out. Two of my old chairs are used by my sons now in their spaces.
Designing and building a home office is an interesting consideration. What you need at home, in the new age of cloud solutions, is vastly different than what you would need for a home office 10 and even 15 years ago. Once upon a time, you would need multiple printers. It was just easier to have multiple printers. Now you can get away with one, or possibly two printers at the most. The reality of networks has improved.
Storage at home is an interesting problem as well. What and how you store information at home becomes the question. I have a couple of network drives that are off most of the time that I use for backups of information. I have a couple of external hard drives that I use for local storage of information. I also use a cloud backup service (Carbonite) that rocks! Lighting is also critical for your office. I know that there are times when I like very little light (I have a lamp that is high enough up to light the whole office). Sometimes I want lots of light. Sometimes I just like working in different colored lights (it is why I have Hue bulbs in my office).
Overall home office design is a critical component of success, or failure when working from home.