Shameless review update Bloomsky Weather!

I have talked about and shared about the Bloomsky weather station for a long time. First off, their device application is amazing. I am updating my review of the product because they released a new version of the software. The new version allows you to share your weather station with other people via email The cool thing about the amazing Bloomsky is the creation of Time-lapse video or as I call, Yesterday’s Weather.

You can also view my station’s time-lapse video directly via this link. Of course, I am still posting the time-lapse video on my Youtube channel (as well as another fun videos I have found, use and best of all have personally taken!). I call my Youtube Channel Yesterday’s Weather. My joke or jab at weather forecasting is that when you are predicting yesterday’s weather, you are never wrong! I have published more than 300 time-lapse videos and in all those posts have correctly predicted the weather 100% of the time. The advantage of sharing yesterday’s weather is that it is hard to get it wrong! if you are interested in adding a home weather station and joining the Micro-weather revolution. Bloomsky is a fun product that comes in two parts. The Sky looks upward and takes time-lapse video. The storm measures wind, rain and wind direction. Now you can share your weather with everyone. The software (iPhone, Tablets or Android) is also very nice. I use the software all the time. As they continue to add additional features to the overall solution, I will post more reviews.

Micro-weather is the concept of making sure you know what the weather is, near you, with you and ahead of you!

My previous review had Bloomsky a solid 8 out of 10, with this review they move up to a 9!


weather fanatic…

What once was…

I still miss the Circular Slide Rule my father gave me around 1975. I can do more with my iPhone than I ever could with that circular slide rule, but I miss it. Every once in awhile, I look online at the variously available versions of circular slide rules, but none are like the one my father got me all those years ago. I do, realize that over time I have created a memory of that slide rule that probably isn’t real. It was just that when I got it; it was the coolest thing I had ever gotten. Well, see I think that is the exaggeration of that gift. It was a cool gift, but over the years I have gotten many gifts that were cooler. It was just one that was something I treasured until it went missing, then I treasured it more.

Today I am lamenting the fall of Giroptic more. It bothered me when I saw the email from the founder. I had backed their first 360-degree camera via Crowdfunding. I ended up also adding their IO camera to my growing collection. The IO is the camera that connected to the iPhone or Android phone and gave you 360-degree images. The business reality for new technology is two-fold. The first is an understanding of the Total Addressable market. BY adding the IO product, I thought Giroptic had expanded to a new and ultimately a huge market. Personally, I put the overall 360-degree camera market at less than 100 million. But I figured the TAM (Total Addressable Market) for the add-on market in the cell phone world was well more than 400 million dollars.

I suspect that is the fatal flaw for many inventors. Not the reality of invention. But the simple reality of market and market size.

As a look ahead technologist I know I am not a market. I at times may be a market mover or market driver, but for the most part, I am looking at problems before other people consider them problems. The reality for new companies, innovations, and innovators is the reality of getting to the market quickly but also understand what the real market is. I understand the dream, I love the passion, but reality has to be the one thing inventors keep in front of them. Don’t assume the market is infinite!


innovation fan

Listening to music in my office….

I spend a lot of time listening to music. For the most part, I listen to different music depending on what I am doing. In the early morning (wee morning hours) I listen to classical music as I work on my blog. I’ve listened to music since back when I was in middle school. My dad used to try to get me to explain why I listened to music; he felt it was a distraction. I just like having the sound around me. That said, I am very interested in audio. I have had or still have virtually every single type of audio playback device.

For a long time, I was invested in Zune’s and after Zune’s a couple of other forays into MP3 players. I had two different iPods for a while. Each of those, however, faded away over time. With the rise of XM roughly 12 years ago I converted to Satellite radio. I also listen to Amazon Prime music, because I am already paying for prime but also because my Alexa speaker will play Amazon music if I ask. The technology of music is interesting to me.

Not sure why on a Monday to start the week I dived into the music I listen to or the music technology. The world of what was and what is in the space has changed radically. In part, the Bose/Sonos wireless speaker explosion makes for home audio very different now, than it was. I have Sonos speakers in different rooms of my office (office, Kitchen, Bedroom, living room and basement) that I use to play various music on (mostly Sirius/XM streamed, to be honest). I could also use a PC, my cell phone or an Aux in if I wanted to play other sources. I no longer have an iPod but I still have speakers with iPhone connections.

The technology of music has evolved. But the evolution isn’t done yet. There are still things that are done today, as they have been done for more than 50 years. The time of change in the music world is upon us.


music lover

Be online (but be safe)!

I remember when going from 256 k of ram on your computer to 512 k of ram on the computer more than doubled the performance of the system. Now the only system I own with less than 16 gigs of ram (or 32 times that old maximum) is my work PC at eight gigs. That, now that I read it sounds like bragging, but it is not meant as bragging. Computers have more space, memory and processor power now than they did back in the days I had an Apple IIc.

But then, we were oft disconnected. Now, computers are always connected. That changes the reality of home computing considerably. But all of that is water under the bridge now. You would never have had a connected home in the days of dialup connections. The waiting would have been annoying at best. The connected home, connected PC, connected car and now with smartphones the connected person, changes everything. The connection becomes more than a world and a process. It becomes the actual way we interact with technology.

The connection is such a huge part of what smart (insert device name here) bring to the modern world. But connection can be a bad thing as well. How many horror movies and sad stories start with “I didn’t have any bars on my phone.” The reality of connection and communication is the reality of failure. When you take an airplane (small) or boat out, you file a flight or float plan. Someone knows where you are going and for how long. You have more than one form of a communication device in the craft. Many people still wander off assuming their connected smartphone is enough. It isn’t. There are things that will help you stay connected better, without using just the cell phone. But when you do go away from home, always have a backup communication system. What does it hurt to carry a little extra weight knowing you are that much safer.


safety first!

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

Communication, two way street, not a tunnel with an approaching light!

One of the things I need to share from time to time is the reality of communication. I share the communications patterns and anti-patterns on the various blogs I write for. I am, have and continue to learn and improve my communication. I am nowhere near perfect. I wish I were, but I know that being perfect is difficult to attain and not realistic as a goal. I do however have and live by some simple rules.

  1. It is always ok to argue. If you disagree with me, I am happy to have the discussion. If however, we are unable to reach a consensus, it doesn’t mean I am disrespectful; it just means that we disagree.
  2. There are rules when you communicate online. Who is responsible for the rules? Everyone. It isn’t site owners, blog owners or the police that are responsible for enforcing the rules. If there are people that break the rules, everyone should work to enforce the rules. Rules help create fair, which is hard to do without rules.
  3. The most important lesson I’ve learned and rule I apply is way out with dignity. Rule 1, its ok to argue, rule two rules are important. Rule 3 is giving someone a way out of the situation without them feeling like they were at risk.

Look communication is painful. It is a situation that requires both understanding the other person’s position but also, standing for what you believe in. It is so hard to continue conversations sometimes when people don’t believe rules are critical when they don’t give you away out of the situation with dignity.

The three rules I’ve shared are stacked one upon the other. You can’t apply one and skip two (well I can’t). The reality for me is the three rules shared work together. They are how I communicate online and ultimately how I communicate as a person.

Sometimes it is important to remember there are no guaranteed right answers, but it is ok to defense the answer you believe is right!


I dream in eclectic blue…

Drones and AI…

The concepts of artificial intelligence and machine learning are interesting to me. In part because for the past couple of years I have talked about, written about and published multiple posts on the concept of smart sensors and smart appliances. AI causes a lot of people heartburn. In part because the reality of AI is that the machine is capable of modifying a reaction or response based on the “knowledge” of the machine, not a human intervening. It causes a lot of people to bemoan the rise of the machines. But it is an evolution that adds value while presenting risk. I know, for example, there are many technologists that have decried AI as a huge risk.

AI is an evolutionary step, the next stop on a hopeful far longer journey. AI today is limited in the sense that it only lives online on the installed machine. Someday the reality of virus’ that allows for the application to replicate and send itself to other machines will be something that AI’s will evolve towards. But the reality of today is that isn’t there. The first AI capable virus will present the greatest risk we have, rather than the AI’s taking over the world. That risk of a self-replicating intelligent AI built to gather information is a huge risk in the near term.

But I do understand why people are nervous. That said, let me give you an example where an AI would provide significant value to humanity as a whole. An example that I have talked about in the past (on some different blogs). The technology of, application of and improvement of search and rescue systems.

  1. Drones equipped with FLIR’s amazing infrared Cameras.
  2. Drones equipped with SONAR
  3. Drones equipped with LIDAR
  4. Drones Equipped with 4k cameras.

Simple right? You can buy any of these today. They are all products that ship and are available. But, there is something that the future holds for the technology of search and rescue. First the ability to have the Drones fly independently of the humans also searching. That an AI would be capable of watching for abnormalities at a much faster rate than a human can. With the ability to deploy any one of the four capabilities of a drone without a human intervening. Like the iRobot Roomba, the Drone array would need to have the ability to fly to a charging base. The AI would be aware of the jail (find a human or humans) and the Map (where we are). This would allow the AI to create grids and fly the entire search area seeking changes or abnormalities. Who wouldn’t want to have a system that found lost hikers, children, and pets before it was too late?