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.



A wander, to wander, wandering technology

In the past few years, I have spent a lot of time seeking the perfect VOIP setup. I do a lot of meetings in my job, many of which are online. I find that there are three things I need. The first is the ear noise canceling headsets. I need that because honestly, it is a more natural feel for me. It is a personal choice, I know for a long time I considered, evaluated and owned the one ear smaller earbuds. I always found myself either having to reach up to more often to adjust them or to push them into my ear more. I would love to hear what other people think is critical in headsets so feel free to comment!

For a long time, I also chased printers, but that phase is no longer as critical for me. We are down to three printers in the house; I suspect we won’t go below 3. Two are specialty printers (color laser and large format plotter).  It is an interesting change for me; I used to love having a good printer. Now I don’t care as much. I do have a Canon photo printer, but that is more to print the occasional picture.

The other things I often consider or evaluate are keyboards and Mice. I switched recently to a new keyboard and mouse (trackball actually) from Logitech. I will do a review in a couple of weeks. Keyboards is something that bloggers focus on. The better your keyboard, the easier it is to produce content! I find myself often considering the fragility of keyboards. In fairness to the companies that make them, I drop them on occasion. I need a keyboard that has a strong case. I am not a big fan of the newer mechanical keyboards, but I have tried a couple of them.

Time to roll!


Edge computing…

One of the technologies that I am interested in currently is the growing world of air quality devices. It comes from my ever-growing love of remote data, remote or edge sensors and weather information.There are some interesting air quality sensors on the market. First, the NetATMO system includes an air quality sensor as well as an indoor coach. The indoor coach focuses on the quality of the air in a specific space, but also, the sound and other variables.

IT is one of those things that I think about. In part because the presence of higher amounts (non-toxic) of CO presents interesting problems. The other side is the Ozone levels in the outside air and of course, the UV level. All of these things are components of what I like to measure.

The reality of what is called Edge Computing adds some flavor to the conversation. Edge computing is pushing the computing required for data analysis to the edge of the network. Bloomsky is an interesting implementation of that (Bloomsky is a time-lapse video weather station). Part 1, the computing required to measure wind, rainfall, and temperature as well as UV levels are processed on the device. The time-lapse video is processed offline and reloaded back into the station for you to consume.

Other edge devices go even further at this point, processing and analyzing the data they are collecting as far from the user consuming as is possible. Edge, Cloud and the Internet of Things are all relevant conversations to have as you consider the reality of measuring air quality, weather and other using the distributed nature of Edge. Edge has a risk of course, like anything the how and what of security is critical.

As we go forward in this space, there is so much to come.



The ever changing world of technology…

I enjoyed watching the old CSI series. There were at various times three of them (CSI, CSI New York, and CSI Miami) in part because all three were always using interesting technology. One of the things that I find incredibly interesting now that I think will impact the world of crime scene investigation is the reality of 3d scanning. Using a 60-degree camera or scanner, you could capture a crime scene as it was discovered for future review.

Naturally thinking about other applications of 3d scanners and 360 cameras got me thinking about the current applications and the future ones as well. Realtors use very expensive 360-degree camera systems to show off new houses, townhouses, and apartments. I suspect the next big thing will be a home visit by the realtor so that you can take your furniture and put it into the new space to see how your stuff looks in the house you are considering. It is a fairly easy process to scan, add measurements and allow someone to put their larger furniture items into their new house. The small stuff can be moved (sometimes 200 times trust me) but the big stuff has to fit.

I would also see the reality of 360-degree cameras being used by the police. As they arrive at an accident scene, the can capture a couple 360 shots. This will help with later physics arguments. It also allows the insurance company access to more information, as they decide responsibility for accidents. Drones with 360-degree cameras will also help in the drone world, for police in both search and rescue and crowd management. Seeing all angles of a crowd will allow the police to react quickly to elements in a crowd that are not behaving properly. Meshing 360, 4k and infrared imaging from three distinct drones allow the meshing of all three using GPS settings. Drones can fly and cover vast distances, with the meshing of all three types of images allows the drones to fly 24 hours a day. People can then review the video offline.

The future is always interesting…



of scans, scanning and scanners!

Ah scanners, I’ve chased good scanners for many years. In the beginning, Scanners were SCSI (Small Computer Serial Interface) connected. SCSI allowed you to Daisy Chain up to seven devices in a “chain.” We had hard drives, scanners and many other devices connected to our SCSI chains. First of all, there were many issues, and you had to keep the chain balanced, as well as terminated for it to work.

The world of scanners has changed so much. Now, there are USB connected scanners that don’t have the issues or problems that we had in the past. I’ve mentioned the Epson Perfection series before. Great scanner for family history projects. But today, we are wandering more to the world of handheld scanners. There are several products that will join my upcoming reviewing list. There are multiple scanners (hand-held) available now that are interesting.

First, is the capability of using your cellular phone’s camera as a scanner, in particular translating information from one language to another on the fly during the scanning process. This option is improving all the time and is around 85% accurate (don’t sign legal papers based on an automated translation of words using a scanner). There are pen-sized, wand sized and hand-held scanners as well that will do language translation. All of these are potential upcoming review topics!

Scanners have changed so much in the past 20 years. The laser scanner is another interesting addition to the market.

More to come…


long time scan fan

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!