Indiegogo is dying, it makes me sad…

I wanted to continue my sad saga of Indiegogo project failures. We are still sitting at 21% of all technology projects backed fail and disappeared. The support team from Indiegogo says “you understand crowdfunding is a risk, right?” My initial answer to that is no. I started throwing and burning money when I was eight years old and just thought as an adult I would continue to throw money and burn it whenever possible. As the platform, I expect that Indiegogo will do a better job of making sure the right projects are presented.

A friend of mine recently reminded me that I back cutting-edge projects. I do in fact back cutting-edge technologies on both Kickstarter and Indiegogo. I don’t back anything on Indiegogo anymore. At all, ever, I keep my money on the much safer Kickstarter. Yes, Kickstarter projects also fail, but not in an epic way and not in the epic numbers of the Indiegogo failures. Plus you don’t get someone asking you if you understand crowdfunding. They ask you for the project, and they reach out ccing you to that project. I do understand that because I back cutting-edge projects my failure rate is going to be higher than the average crowd-funder. I find 9% at this point to be my Maginot line. Above 9% failed projects is bad. Below 9% failed projects are good. A project that I thought was dead on Kickstarter recently came to life with a post noting that they were planning on shipping soon, two years later than expected but still there That almost drops KS to 6% failure rate.

Failure means:

  • No project communication for more than 12 months

The sad thing is that Indiegogo has deep pockets in its corporate backer (IBM) and still epically fails. I have to say I have talked to a number of other frustrated IG backers and we’ve actually talked about a class action lawsuit. Originally we were just going to sue, but recently it was pointed out that there are a huge number of platform failures and a class-action suit might end up being a better thing. I really loved the concept, idea, and platform so it makes me sad that it comes to this.


considering a class action lawsuit

The universe of IoT around us…

spent a lot of time considering the next steps, the next trends and the reality of what technology is. I began looking at, considering and evaluating IoT components for the past couple of years. From smart appliances to sensors changing the world around you, IoT devices are exploding. That explosion remains interesting to me. In part because the market for IoT devices is constantly shifting. It isn’t a set in stone this is what is going to happen.

When I first saw wireless technology I knew, in fact, that what was coming next was more and better wireless. What happened was an explosion of wireless. With IoT, I don’t see only one improved technology. I do see a rise of smart sensors. There are sensors that broadcast all day every day the readings they are taking. As we move into the world of smart sensors they, these sensors deployed, will begin to only broadcast information when there is a change. Today, they broadcast all the time. Eventually, they will broadcast only changes. Where I say this is the range I consider normal, tell me when your readings are not normal.

So that is a direction, smart devices, but the number of those devices is going to be huge. From weather sensors to indoor air sensors the market is huge. Rust sensors deployed on equipment that is outdoors can warn and improve maintenance of machinery. The market is huge. 12 billion devices deployed today (probably closer to 16 billion) means that the number of these devices continues to expand. You can have a seismograph in your home. You can carry a Geiger counter in your pocket. You can tell what the current UV level is, the temperature is, humidity and barometric readings, right on your phone wherever you are standing. The market for IoT and the eventual expansion will continue to be amazing. I knew Wireless was going to take off. I know IoT is going to take off, which part of the IoT market though, I do not know!



Sort of kind of a new column. Cool Tech meandering…

Slowly but surely I am going through my electronics hoard (my not description of my office) and getting rid of items I no longer need or use. Other than records from the old days, most things I try to get rid of if I don’t use it for more than six months. I am not always as good at doing that as I would like, but I am trying. Sometimes, the avenues and paths I’ve missed on are the ones I end up donating to schools and Goodwill. That becomes the only option because, well I missed on the technology.

A few side technology notes:

  1. I played the new version of Madden (18) on the Xbox over the last few days. First, of all the graphics on the system and in the game are amazing. The quality of images and the overall smoothness of gameplay has improved over the last 4 or 5 years.
  2. Jabra Evolve 80 headset. I carry it in my computer bag, and honestly, I use it more often now than I have in the past. In part, it is a great tool for Skype for Business calls and meetings. It is also a great pair of headsets to use during training and other online non-interactive and interactive meetings.
  3. I continue to use Walabot frequently; I am finding it is a great tool for finding the many wires in the house. I also use it heavily when it comes to hanging things in the basement. I have hung a few things that require, well that they not fall or that the stud is hit directly. The Kapp Smartboard in the basement requires a solid, secure wall mounting, so the Walabot was an amazing addition to the arsenal.

There are some solutions I consider when removing devices from my collection. The 5/6 month rule is a starting point. I also find lately that I am looking at devices and trying to reduce the number of functional things I have with me at any time. I want to reduce the weight of items in my computer bag going forward. I want to reduce the clutter in my office space going forward. I continue to work on this! (all of the things I find that I don’t use end up on eBay if you are interested).


Family Historian

Of AR/VR and excuse me what world am i in now?

The concept of AR/VR is increasing and becoming more and more relevant as we head into the latter half of the second decade of the 21st century. It is funny to me, as I read the pundits and analysts with widely varying estimates for the application of VR and the market size and application for VR/AR. One of my favorite writers posted an interesting article asking is this the year that VR/AR solutions grow past Pokémon Go?

There are some applications available and possible for the ever-growing world of VR/AR. In that ever-expanding potential lies some interesting market possibilities. I advocated the creation of security maps in AR/VR and of course there is the infamous reality of a VR library. IE you can walk over to the card catalog to find a book. All of this leading back to a product I have mentioned in the past. The product being the broad category technology Oculus Rift, and the interesting AR/VR interactive reality that is Microsoft Hololens.

Since My last AR/VR post, the new Windows headset shave begun to ship as well. I’ve been playing with the overall Windows experience and it isn’t as smooth as Oculus today, but it is a much smaller overall investment. Where this market shifts to is what the analysts and pundits are chasing. Like most technology markets, this is one that I believe will be consumer driven. As Pokémon Go exploded the reality of AR to the larger mass market, there is something coming. What will be tomorrow’s change and ultimately tomorrow’s technology in the AR/VR space? I think the reality of what Hulu, Netflix and Amazon Instant video can do in the AR/VR space for me is the next big step. The beauty of the projection is we shall soon know!



Are you backing up your cell phone pictures?

I talk about backups and system protection all the time. One of my biggest complaints is where people only take pictures on their cell phone and then, frankly never back those up. I lost 300 digital pictures very early on in my camera days. I to this day regret that (some pictures from a camera I can never replace). So I am extremely diligent about backing my pictures up. Just to kind of carry that point to its fullest point.

Here are the pictures currently on my iPhone. There are 22. These are the only pictures on my iPhone. Why? I back them up. Once a week or so I move them to my network based storage solutions (3 in my house and one in the cloud). That way I am never at risk for losing pictures. The 22 images on my iPhone are also on my OneDrive from Microsoft. Using the application on my iPhone, I can update and upload the pictures as I take them.

That means even my iPhone has a double backup (my Apple account backs up to Apple online, and my photos also back up to Microsoft One drive). The reason to share these pictures with you today is to show you what you lose if you don’t back your cell up. Apple will be releasing iOS 11 in the next few days. 99.9% of the time that means nothing. If you brick your phone during the upgrade or worse, don’t back up your phone and drop it in a lake, then you lose all the pictures on your phone. You can’t replace pictures of the dog curled up on the couch with a blanket!


Family Historian

Hey Flir–send me a demo unit of your new drone carried infra-red camera for a review!

Walabot, as they originally intended it, was designed as home wall sonar. For DIY or professionals, it allows you to see studs quickly. You can also use it, however, for figure out where wiring is. You have to modify the sensitivity of the sensor in the software, but it is something you can do.

As an IT person, and a home automation fanatic, I am often interested in figuring out where wires are. It is funny, but wires, unlike studs, can change position over time. Unless they were pre-installed wires that don’t move out of the drilled holes in the studs they live in. The other thing I enjoy seeing where I am not able to see is the future growth area of Remotely Operated Vehicles or ROVs.

Drones offer us a chance to go and see things we can’t normally go and see. ROV systems allow us to head below the surface of the water to see what is below us. Drones allow us to fly overhead and see things we wouldn’t normally see without the drone. In fact, I think there are some offerings and solutions that both ROVs and Drones could be used for right away. FLIR, the people that make add on and devices for seeing infrared images from a Drone. The system allows you to find heat sources from above. (By the way, FLIR if you want a review, send me one of the Gimbals, and I would be happy to review it)!

  1. Fire departments could deploy infrared drones to discover hot spots on roofs of buildings before sending fire fighters.
  2. Drones can search at night for lost hikers, cooler air at night, warm hiker’s body would show on the infrared camera.
  3. ROVs can be used by boaters to see what is under their boat.

Look these aren’t the only uses, but the uses for the devices is growing rapidly. I would love to play with a FLIR infrared camera on my drone to see what things look like from above, in infrared! Maybe someday I will have a chance to play with one!


how much is too much…

Home Automation Project Post 8

Back to talking about home automation projects with my 8th post in the series. From door locks to clean floors, home automation projects can make your life easier. If you follow the steps I’ve outlined in particular starting with your home network and then automating, you will now be able to do some additional things that add value. The first is the addition of additional WIFI networks to better support the new automation devices.

  1. I run three distinct networks in my house. One is a hard wired Ethernet. That is what I connect my computers, the home automation hub and other devices like Xboxes and home theater devices that do better on wired networks.
  2. I have two WIFI networks one for my weather stations and IoT devices that are not smart devices (ones that struggle with WEP and other WIFI security keys) and then my home production WIFI network with the rest of my home devices.

I have a security device on the open WIFI for IoT devices that are focused on two things, one new device joining (so I can block them) and two changes in the devices themselves. My home security system for the other main WIFI focuses on top talkers and of course the same concept of new devices. If I don’t recognize a device, it is blocked from my network. Until somebody comes to me and asks for help because they can’t connect (then I unblock their device) and “fix their device.”

The reality of tomorrow is the number of devices we carry. Today most people have between 1 and three devices (computer, tablet and cell phone). You may have a connected TV or other smart appliances. That number of devices is going to continue to increase every year. In fact, most people will be carrying or connected to 5 or more smart devices in less than five years. That means the network you have today (why is the video from XYZ buffering again) is going to get worse. Planning is the best way to avoid the toppling of your home network later.


Home Automaton Smile