Tomorrow is a wistful memory that may never become real…

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

Cool Tech Wander the bag of tomorrow…

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.

  1. 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!
  2. Solar power capable of charging an extended life battery.
  3. 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.



Technology review updates for 2018

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:// 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

  • don’t waste your money

Thanks for the feedback – hopefully, this will help people!



The drones are coming!

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.

  1. Sonar
  2. Underwater or waterproof camera images
  3. FLIR infrared imaging
  4. 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!

Family History IV, the wrap-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

I also post family history videos (I have a lot of them) on my families YouTube Channel.


family history starter and tech guy

Starting a family history project part III

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)

of blogs and blogging tools!

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.